Helpful Tips After a Motor Vehicle Car Accident
Car accidents are one of the most common forms of personal injury. Currently, for New York residents, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death. Since there is no way to predict how an accident could affect you, it’s important to understand what to do if you’ve been harmed by one. Here are some helpful tips.
It’s important to remain as calm as possible after any personal injury. Contact the police. This is especially crucial in a car accident. Don’t make any rash judgment that could hurt you physically and financially. Don’t take immediate blame for the accident—have the authorities intervene. Remain safe directly following the accident.
Get medical help.
As always, safety first. If you are injured in the accident, your wellbeing is most important. Ensure you cooperate with police or EMS to handle any injury. Medical expenses can be compensated for later. Do not be afraid to prioritize any injury you may have. Assess the seriousness of any harm and keep medical records. You can later turn those documents over to your attorney for proper compensation.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law require you to exchange information with the other driver(s). This includes driver’s license information, license plate number, insurance information, and registration. Be forthright with the other individual(s) affected by the accident so that you are provided with all potentially necessary information. Do not discuss fault or anything outside of basic informational exchange.
Get contact information from witnesses.
Witnesses can be vital in clearing up what actually happened in an accident. Since the majority of the time the only witnesses are the drivers, getting contact information from a third-party witness can be extremely helpful. If both drivers are contesting the fault of an accident, having a strong witness helps the adjustor compare the drivers’ stories to an independent account. It is important though to consider the credibility of the witness. A reliable witness was not alerted to the scene by the sound of a crash, but was at the scene and can recount the full extent of the accident.
Documenting the accident with photographs is critical. When insurance adjusters are investigating the accident, photographs provide indisputable proof of the damage at the time of the accident. In addition, photographs can also prove the location of the accident and if there were any poor weather conditions. Photographs should not only be of the car, but any images of the surrounding area that help piece together the scene.
Have the car towed, if necessary.
If your car is damaged enough, it may need to be towed. Since fault is not always determined at the moment of a crash, it will not be clear in the moment whose insurance will cover the towing. Instead of calling the insurance company to inquire about towing, you should contact a towing company by yourself and keep receipts of the cost.
Report the accident and contact your attorney first.
Never speak with the insurance company without first contacting our office. They record your conversations and will use anything you say against you during the pendency of your claim. If property damage exceeds $1,000, you are required by New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law to file an accident report to the DMV (MV-104) no more than 10 days after the accident. Before you contact your insurance, it is extremely important to contact an experienced attorney. No-fault insurance and at-fault liability insurance can be confusing. An attorney can help you navigate the route for compensation or sue for personal injury. Insurance companies attempt to settle your case quickly and efficiently with the least amount of expense, but an attorney will ensure your rights are protected through the process.
Car accidents are an unforeseen tragedy. It is imperative to understand the necessary actions to take after an accident so that you can limit long-term impact. This includes understanding the priority of safety, laws, and insurance claims. We are available to help you manage the procedure following a car accident.
If you or someone you know has recently experienced a car accident, or if you have questions about the matter, contact our offices at (718) 340-3385.