Follow These Five Steps after a New York Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident in New York can leave you rattled and at a loss as to what to do next. Keep the following five steps in mind, so that you’re prepared to respond appropriately after an accident, and contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a crash.
1. Check to see if anyone is injured and try to clear out of the roadway
Immediately after a crash, check your car’s occupants for injuries, and try to identify whether anyone in the other vehicle has been seriously injured. New York law requires drivers to call the police if anyone has been hurt in an accident. If your vehicles are blocking lanes of traffic, be cautious about stepping in the path of oncoming cars when inspecting your vehicle or that of the other driver. If your car is still drivable, pull onto the shoulder or off the highway while you’re speaking with the other driver involved in the crash.
2. Document the scene
State law requires you to stop and exchange information with the other drivers involved anytime a collision causes physical damage to a person, another vehicle, or to someone else’s property. Record as much information as possible about the damage done to both cars. If it is safe, take photos of the position the vehicles were in after the collision. Take a photo of the other driver’s license plate, and write down their name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Document the damage done to both your car and the other vehicle. If there are bystanders near the scene of the accident, ask if they saw what happened, and get their contact information in the event that their testimony might be useful in a deposition or trial.
3. Report the accident if $1001+ damage or if there are injuries, and notify your insurer
Under New York law, you must file a report with the DMV within ten days of any accident which caused over $1,000 in damage, physical injury or death. You can obtain a copy of this report, or a report filed by local police, by contacting the local police department or New York State DMV. Also report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible, and request a no-fault claim form. Strict time limits apply to providing written notice of your accident to your insurer, and excessive delay could prevent you from receiving benefits for your injuries.
4. See a doctor
You may not believe that you were injured in the accident, but it is still important to see your doctor as soon as possible after an accident. Some injuries may not exhibit symptoms immediately, or could have symptoms you do not realize are indicative of an injury. Failing to see a doctor right away could make it more difficult to submit a claim when you later discover your injuries.
5. Speak with a lawyer
Accidents can be extremely costly events in your life. Even if you do not need to go outside of your insurance coverage to receive full compensation for your injuries, insurance companies are rarely eager to provide the funds you request for your claim. An experienced attorney can help you negotiate a settlement with your insurers that meets your needs, and can help you pursue legal action against at-fault drivers if it appears necessary.
For assistance after a car accident in New York, contact the knowledgeable and seasoned Goshen personal injury lawyers at Dupée & Monroe for a free consultation, at 845-294-8900.