3 Steps to Take After a New York Car Accident
On average, over 136,000 people are injured in car accidents in the state of New York alone every year. Your odds of being involved in a car accident in New York increase every year that you’re on the road—and sometimes it feels more like a question of when rather than if. That’s why it’s essential to know the three steps you must take after a New York car accident.
At the Scene
First, and most importantly, under New York law, you must stop at the scene of an accident. Not only must you stop, but you are legally required to exchange information and give any first aid you can to anyone who was injured in the accident.
Most insurance policies also require that you report the collision to the police. Be sure to let the 911 operator know if anyone is injured so they can dispatch the appropriate personnel to the accident scene.
Taking care of any injured people and making sure everyone is safe is the first thing that you should do before the authorities come. Once that is done, if you are able to, before you leave the scene, you should gather as much information as you can. For example, you want to get the other vehicle’s owner information, as well as the name and contact information of any passengers or witnesses.
If possible, use your cell phone to take as many pictures of the accident as possible. Try to include any debris field, damage to all vehicles, road conditions, various angles, etc.
When giving your statement to the police, it’s important not to volunteer any information about who was at fault for the New York car accident. Remember, anything you say may be used against you at a later date.
Report the Car Accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Second, you are required by New York law to report your car accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles using form MV-104 if the property damage to any property involved in the collision exceeds $1000.00. This is true even if no one was injured. You can find the form here.
It’s vital that you do this as soon as possible because if you don’t report the New York car accident within ten days from the date of the accident, your driver’s license could be suspended.
Report Your Accident to the Insurance Company
Third, you should report your New York car accident to all insurance companies involved as soon as possible. You are required to report your car accident in writing within 30 days from the date of the crash for you to receive any no-fault benefits due to you. However you should call the insurance company immediately following the collision.
Your New York car insurance company will open an investigation and a claims adjuster will contact you. At this time, they may ask you to do the following:
1. Provide them with a copy of the police report
2. Send photographs of the damage to your motor vehicle
3. Talk to any witnesses
4. Request that you sign a medical release to review your medical records
5. The insurance company may contact your medical professional
6. Ask that you get estimates to have your vehicle repaired.
Once the investigation is over, they may offer you a settlement amount for your claim depending on the type and amount of damages you are claiming. You do not need to accept any settlement offer from an insurance company.
What Comes Next?
The above three are the things you should do following any car wreck that you’ve been involved in. But the fourth, and sometimes most important step of all, is to contact an experienced New York auto accident attorney who can help evaluate your case—and any legal recourses available to you.
The attorneys at Greenberg & Stein have handled all manner of car accident cases in New York, and we will be here to help you along every step of the way while we fight to ensure that you receive justice. While every auto accident case is different, you can be assured that our award-winning legal representation is here to help you through this difficult time.
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck through no fault of your own, it is important that you speak immediately with a team of qualified professionals who can ensure you receive the compensation necessary to cover hospital bills, lost wages, and other damages.
We offer a free consultation and a 24-hour phone line, so don’t hesitate to call us if you are in need of an auto accident attorney in New York City. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free legal consultation.