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What to Do After a Car Accident in New York City



Car Accident in New York City

Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

You don’t go through life anticipating a serious car crash will happen. But what if it does? If you live in a bustling city like New York, making a plan for what to do if an accident takes place might make all the difference in the world regarding your recovery.

After an accident, the first thing to do is prioritize your safety. Try to get to the sidewalk or an area away from the road. Then, call 911. Before officers get there, you can ask the other driver for their information. If they give you any issues, the police can handle things once they arrive. Don’t apologize for the accident, as that could hurt your case in the future. Use your phone to take pictures of your injuries and the crash site. Then, go to the hospital. Once you’ve finished these steps, your lawyer can start preparing your compensation claim in New York City.

Your Checklist for After a New York City Car Accident

Since car accidents happen so frequently in New York City, everyone, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone else on the road, should learn what to do after an accident in the Big Apple.

Get to Safety

The most important thing you can do after a car crash, especially in a crowded area like New York City, is get to safety. If you can remove yourself from your car without causing further injury, do so. Try to move away from the road where you aren’t vulnerable to other cars. When victims get trapped inside their vehicles, trying to exit might cause complications. If necessary, wait for emergency medical services to help you leave the vehicle.

Call 911

A car accident could change the rest of your life in a second. Documenting these accidents with help from the police is crucial, as otherwise, victims might not collect enough information about a crash.

Even for minor fender benders, victims should call the police. Because of the high volume of traffic on the streets, rear-end accidents in New York might quickly become multi-vehicle accidents. Whatever you do, do not let the other driver convince you to leave the police out of it.

Instead, call 911. If you can’t because you’re too injured, ask the other driver or an eyewitness to do so. After you call 911, officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD) will arrive. Ask for emergency medical services as well.

Police officers from the NYPD will talk to you, the other driver, and eyewitnesses when completing their report. They may also include additional details that help your case, such as possible contributing causes to the accident. Your NYC car accident lawyer can then identify the precinct to contact to retrieve the report based on the exact location of your accident.

Get the Driver’s Info

While you wait for the police to arrive, you can talk to the other driver to get their information. According to V.A.T. Law § 600(2)(a), drivers involved in accidents that cause personal injury must remain at the scene and exchange information, like their driver’s license and insurance details.

In a metropolis like New York City, there are many types of vehicles and drivers on the road outside of just passenger cars and passenger car drivers. For example, you can’t go far without seeing taxis and rideshare cars. If you were hurt as a passenger of a rideshare car, get the same basic information from the driver but also ask for their employer’s information. Do the same if you are hurt in a commercial truck accident in New York City.

Take Pictures

One of the most powerful things you can do after a crash is to use your smartphone to take pictures of the site. First responders quickly clear accident scenes, especially in high-traffic areas like New York City. Leaving debris on the road could otherwise endanger other drivers. Since the scene won’t remain intact for long, the best thing to preserve it is to photograph it. On top of pictures, you can take sweeping videos of the scene, damage to your vehicle, and injuries to your person.

Get Immediate Medical Care

Once you’ve handled things at the accident site, you should go to the hospital. Some victims need care at the scene from emergency medical professionals. If you reject immediate care and then try to file a lawsuit, you might face issues, especially since New York is a no-fault state. You’ll have to prove serious injury as defined in I.S.C. Law § 5102(d), so you should start building your medical records for the accident right away.

What Not to Do After a Car Accident in New York

While there are many things you should do after a car crash in New York City, there are also a few things you shouldn’t do. Making any of these missteps could ultimately undermine your case, so watch what you do and say after the accident.

First of all, you should never apologize for an accident you didn’t cause. While saying sorry might feel like a natural impulse, especially if both parties are hurt, do not apologize. According to C.V.P. Law § 1411, a victim’s damages can be lowered to reflect their shared liability for an accident. If you’re apologetic after the accident, the other driver might try to use that against you in the future.

Emotions are high after accidents, and it’s understandable for victims to be scared or upset. While you’re at the scene and waiting for the police, don’t argue with the other driver or rehash the accident. You can’t control the other driver’s response or emotions, but you can try to keep your cool. Admittedly, this can be hard when victims are seriously hurt, but do your best to stay calm and refrain from having in-depth conversations with the other driver apart from getting their insurance information and other necessary details.

As a car accident victim, it can seem like the burden is on you to do the right things after a crash, which can feel unfair. But, since your access to compensation is on the line, carefully reviewing what to do and what not to do with your lawyer immediately after the incident and throughout your case is of the utmost importance. That way, you can protect your financial recovery as much as possible in New York City.

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