Being in a car accident can be disorienting. One minute you are traveling down the road and the next minute, the force of impact sends you reeling. While it can be easy to feel lost and overwhelmed at this time and the moments following, it is important to remain as calm as possible and begin taking steps to protect yourself and your legal rights.
Steps You Should Take After an Accident
If you are involved in a car accident, immediately stop at the accident scene. Under New York law, drivers in an automobile crash are required to stop and stay at the scene in order to exchange information with others involved as well as to offer reasonable assistance to anyone who has been injured. Leaving the scene may result in a person being charged with a hit and run. Depending on the injuries involved as well as the level of damages sustained, a person convicted of a hit and run may face substantial fines, jail time, or both. You also risk the loss of your driver's license.
After the accident, call the police as soon as you can. This means that an officer will respond to the scene and an official accident report will be generated. The officer will make an initial assessment of damages as well as interview parties to the crash and relevant witnesses. An accident report can be a vital piece of evidence should you later seek compensation through a personal injury claim.
If you are able to, gather as much information at the accident scene as you can. This will include exchanging information with other drivers or parties involved. Get names and insurance information as well as contact information for everyone. Make note of any passengers in other vehicles and get the contact information for any witnesses to the accident. It may also be a good idea to note both traffic and weather conditions at the time of the accident. Take photographs at the scene if you can.
One of the most important things you can do after an accident, however, is to seek medical treatment. This is true even if you do not necessarily feel like you were badly injured. Injury symptoms do not always present themselves right away, and seeking immediate medical evaluation and treatment can help you recover from injuries that you sustained, but may not be totally aware of. Additionally, seeking immediate medical treatment can be vital to any future personal injury claim you seek later on. Receiving follow-up care as recommended by your treating medical providers will also be a critical aspect of your claim.
You must also report the accident to the DMV within 10 days of the accident occurring. This is required if any driver sustained over $1,000 in property damage, if anyone was injured, or if anyone was killed. Failure to report such an accident will likely result in the suspension of your driver's license.
You must also report the crash to your insurance company as soon as possible. In order to claim no-fault benefits through your insurance company, you must report the crash within 30 days. This will trigger an investigation into the accident by your insurance company.
New York City Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an auto accident, it is likely that you are feeling overwhelmed. Coping with injuries is difficult enough, but then there may be added pressures such as mounting medical expenses and lost wages. Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C. is here to help. He is committed to helping clients at a time when they need it the most. Contact our office today.