Getting into a car accident can be scary for drivers and passengers. In times of crisis, people can panic, but it is critical to stay calm and remember these facts and tips if you ever find yourself in a car accident. By following these steps, you can avoid further harm and protect your legal rights:
- Check for injuries: Make sure the drivers and passengers are not injured. If anyone appears injured or unresponsive, call 911 immediately. In the days following the accident, be sure to report any new symptoms or complaints to your health care provider and seek appropriate medical treatment.
- If possible, get to a safe area: This means if both drivers can, pull off to the side of the road. Also, anyone in the car should get out and get as far back from the car as possible. If there are road flares or markers available, place them on the side of the road to alert oncoming traffic.
- Call the Police: If any person is injured or if other property, such as a parked car or traffic sign, is damaged, you must notify the police. All accidents causing personal injury or property damage over $1,000 must be reported to New York State DMV within ten days. Obtain a copy of the police accident report from the local police agency or DMV.
- Exchange information: Make sure to exchange your contact information, driver’s license, registration and insurance information with other drivers and any injured persons. Make note of the insurance companies and the policy numbers covering the automobiles in the accident. By law, an insurance company information card must be carried in every vehicle licensed in New York State.
- Take photographs: If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and any property damage. In the following days, take photographs of any visible physical injuries.
- Identify witnesses: Obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of as many witnesses as possible. Do not discuss the accident with any of the witnesses. Do not give their names to anyone except for the police, your attorney or your insurance company.
- Contact your insurance company: Call your insurance representative immediately. In addition, send written notice to your insurance company as soon as possible advising them of the date, location and circumstances of the accident. Notify each and every insurance carrier that you believe has issued a policy which covers either you or the owner of the vehicle. If you have been injured, request a No Fault application.
- Contact an Attorney: If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. Only an experienced attorney will be able to advise you whether you may be entitled to bring a lawsuit to recover money damages for pain and suffering and economic loss.
Please see our downloadable list of things to do (and not to do) in a car accident, which can be printed and placed in the glove compartment of vehicles that you and loved ones drive for easy reference.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact us immediately to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. We offer convenient meeting times at any of our four regional law offices in Albany, Troy, Latham and Saratoga Springs, NY.
The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy legal team is also available 24/7 for emergency situations by calling (518) 274-5820. We are here to help you through this difficult time.