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What to Do After a Car Accident in New York

An automobile accident can be a frightening and traumatic event, whether or not it involved serious personal injury or wrongful death of a loved one. Most people are, fortunately, not involved in accidents very frequently, but this means it is often difficult to know what to do when confronted with such a situation. Of course, the primary concern should be the safety of yourself and others. But outside of emergency medical situations, there are other steps you should take, and a few you shouldn’t, that will help you in the long run when the time comes to settle with the insurance company on a claim involving the other driver’s negligence or wrongful misconduct.

For your convenience, the auto accident lawyers at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. in Goshen have compiled a list of useful dos and don’ts if you are involved in a car accident in New York. Following these tips will help make sure that you receive the proper medical care and also that you receive the full amount of compensation to cover your legal damages.

DO Seek emergency medical treatment for yourself and any others who appear to be injured. Call 9-1-1 and seek or perform First Aid  until  help arrives. Do not attempt to move a person who may have a neck or spinal injury, unless absolutely necessary to avoid loss of life.
DO Exchange information with the other driver or people involved in the accident. Be sure to obtain names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
DO Gather contact information from any witnesses to the accident. If possible, take notes of any relevant statements they make about the accident.
DO Document the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and any other property damage. If you do not have a camera handy, your cell phone most like has a good-quality camera built in.
DO Obtain a copy of the police report. In most accidents where there is significant damage or injury, the police are called to the scene. The police will take statements from those involved in the accident and any witnesses and write up a report based on their assessment of the situation. If you were seriously injured in the accident, you may not have been able to give a statement at the scene. If so, obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible, and review it for any inaccuracies or biased viewpoints. This is especially important if the other driver was able to give a statement and you weren’t.
DO Follow up with your own doctor soon after the accident. Whether or not you were treated at the scene, you should have a thorough examination by your regular doctor. Depending upon the nature of the accident, your doctor may order additional diagnostic tests or refer you to a specialist. Some conditions, such as certain head or back injuries, may not be immediately apparent without extensive testing.
DO Call an experienced personal injury trial lawyer who has handled accidents of the type you were involved in. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation in which they can evaluate your case and offer you some initial advice. Contacting an attorney right away is the best bet for protecting your rights, preserving memories and evidence, ensuring compliance with legal deadlines, and maximizing the potential of any settlement you may receive.

What don’t I do if I am in accident?

Just as important as the things to do are the things not to do:

DON’T Have your car repaired before talking to an attorney
DON’T Accept any cash or check from the insurance company before talking to an attorney
DON’T Sign any statements, releases or other insurance company documents before talking to an attorney
DON’T Visit with an insurance adjustor before talking to an attorney

Did you notice a common thread in the above DON’T statements? Of course you will have your car repaired or replaced, and you may well end up accepting a payment from the insurance company, but doing these things before you have consulted with an attorney can greatly compromise your rights to recover all that you are entitled to under the law. Talking to an attorney first will help put you in the best position to receive the best settlement and maximum compensation for your injuries.

Help is Available for Hudson Valley Car Accidents

If you have been injured in a car accident in Orange County or the Hudson Valley, call Dupée & Monroe, P.C. in Goshen for a free consultation at 845-294-8900.

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