If you are in a car accident, it is hard to think clearly. You may be injured as well as in shock, scared, confused, nervous and upset. That is why it is important to read over these 10 steps now and know what to do if you are in an accident. In addition, our firm has a free booklet you can download, print and keep in your glove compartment. It provides these steps as well as important forms for collecting information about the accidents scene, the other car or cars involved, witnesses and other important details.
- Stop Immediately! Move your car out of traffic if it is safe to do so. Turn off your ignition and turn on your hazard lights.
- Take Care of Medical Needs: First and foremost make sure everyone involved is okay. Call 911 and make sure an ambulance is sent. If you or any of your passengers are hurt, it is important to get medical care immediately.
- Notify the Police: In New York State, it is required by law that if the accident caused injuries or substantial property damage than you must call the police before you can leave the accident scene. Make sure to get the name of the officer at the scene and write it down. In Nassau County, most police reports are available from the office on Franklin Avenue in Mineola. For Suffolk County, you can go to the office in Yaphank. Some towns and villages may have their own records.
- Exchange Information: After the accident, New York State law requires you to exchange information with all the drivers involved. You should exchange the following information with them: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver's name is different from the name on the insurance card or registration, find out what the relationship is-such as wife, son, friend, etc.-and write it down.
- Collect Other Crucial Information: Take the time to write down a description of each car-including year, make, model and color-as well as the exact location of the collision and how it happened.
- DO NOT: argue about the accident, discuss your insurance policy limits, admit fault or accept roadside settlements.
- Take Pictures: If you have a camera with you or in our phone, take photos. Getting pictures before the cars are moved is ideal in that they may show exactly who is at fault. Take pictures of the accident scene and also make sure to take pictures of the damage to each vehicle.
- Identify Witnesses: Get the names and contact information of anyone who saw the accident. This may include passing motorists who stop, any passengers, as well as pedestrians.
- Fill Out Necessary Forms: Depending on the location and circumstances of the accident, certain forms need to be filed with the state. A lawyer will help make sure you file all the proper forms within the time constrains. In New York, you are required to file a no-fault application for medical costs, hospital bills and lost wages within 30 days of the accident. Additionally, if you are the driver of any vehicle involved in the accident, you must also fill out an MV-104 with the NY Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Protect Your Rights: Call a Lawyer to Find Out Your Rights Before You Contact Your Insurance Agent. It is important if you've been injured in a car accident to contact an auto accident lawyer immediately. They will help protect your rights and make sure you get the compensation you deserve, which is often much more than insurance companies want to pay.
Have questions or want further information? Contact our auto accident lawyers at 516-222-4000. We can answer all your questions and schedule a free consultation to further discuss your accident and explore your legal options. This is all free and with no obligation—our firm only charges if and when you get a verdict or settlement check.