What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, you may face serious injuries. Emotions may be running high, and you should take care not to take or assign blame. What you say to the other party may later be used as an admission or another piece of evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. Many people do not have enough money saved up to address serious injuries or disabilities. A car crash can be personally and financially devastating. You may be wondering what to do after a car accident. At Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP, our experienced New York City car accident attorneys may be able to help.
You should not leave the accident scene before exchanging information and making sure that everyone is fine. If you leave when somebody has been injured or was killed, you can face significant criminal penalties as a hit-and-run driver.
You should first make sure that everyone who was involved in the collision is all right. You should call for medical help for yourself if necessary and anybody else who needs it. For example, if you have neck and back pain, you should not move until medical help arrives unless it is dangerous for you to remain in the same place. If someone is unconscious, you should avoid moving them unless it is dangerous for them to stay in the same location.
You should obtain the names, insurance information, addresses, phone numbers, drivers' license numbers, and license plate numbers from all of the drivers involved in the collision or potentially involved in the collision. It can be helpful to also get the identities, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses, including passengers in the other car or cars. You should not apologize to the other drivers or discuss who was at fault. The drivers in an accident may not be correct about who was actually at fault.
The police must be called when there is significant property damage, injuries, or death as a result of an accident. The police should investigate to try to determine the cause and should take down the names and insurance information of the people potentially responsible for the accident. Although it is the police officer's responsibility to investigate, you can also ask witnesses to the accident what they saw and write down their identification information. Sometimes witnesses have a better perspective on what happened, such as who turned first or how fast a driver was driving, than the people inside either of the vehicles do. You should also take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, skid marks, and your own injuries.
New York is a no-fault state, so you will turn to your own no-fault insurance coverage first. You should notify your insurer that you have been in an accident and make a claim against your no-fault insurance. You should be honest with your insurer and cooperate with them. You should also get any police report that was created so that you can use the information as necessary.
You should get medical care right away. It can be important to keep clear records of all of the doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, or counselors who treat you. You should describe any treatment or medication that you received. It can also be helpful to keep a journal about how your injuries affect you each day. Are there activities that you can no longer enjoy? How is your family affected by your injuries? Serious injuries can make it difficult to pick up your child, do your laundry, clean the house, and engage in active hobbies like dancing or playing sports.
After a serious accident, you may be contacted by the other driver's insurer. The other driver's insurer owes you no duty of loyalty or good faith. It is important not to discuss the accident with that person before consulting an attorney of your own. If you were seriously injured in a New York City car accident that you believe was the other driver's fault, and you are uncertain about what to do next, you should consult Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP. We provide comprehensive legal counsel and representation in car accident lawsuits. Our injury lawyers represent people in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us at 718-896-2700 or complete our online form.