Should you become involved in a New York car accident, there are certain things you should – and should not – do immediately afterward. The decisions you make could impact you, either positively or negatively, for months if not years to come.
FindLaw explains that your first decision should be to stay where you are and not leave the scene until officers say you can. If you leave before officers arrive, you could find yourself facing charges of hit-and-run and/or leaving the scene of an accident.
Check everyone for injuries
Check yourself, your passengers and all other drivers and passengers for injuries. If anyone appears injured, call 911 immediately and request emergency assistance plus police assistance. Do not attempt to move any injured people yourself unless you absolutely have to because you could further injure them.
Get driver information
Get the following information for all other drivers involved in the accident:
- Name, address, phone number, email address
- Driver’s license state and number
- License plate state, county and number
- Insurance company name and number
When speaking with the other driver(s), remain courteous, but do not say anything that indicates you think you may have been the one at fault for the accident. Remember, the other drivers are not your friends and could later sue you for personal injury and property damage.
Get vehicle information
If at all possible, take pictures of your vehicle and all others involved in the accident, especially focusing on the following things:
- Make and model of each vehicle
- License plate of each vehicle
- Signs of new damage to each vehicle
- Signs of prior damage to each vehicle
Make a police report
When officers arrive, make a police report, but answer their questions as briefly as possible. Do not volunteer additional information or opinions, and again, do not say anything they could interpret as an admission on your part that you caused the accident. Be sure to get every officer’s name and badge number, the police report number, and when, where and how you can get a copy.
Call your insurance company
Finally, call your auto insurance company and report the accident. As you did with the officers, answer their questions briefly, but do not speculate as to who caused the accident. Instead, tell them the police are investigating, give them the police report number, and tell them when it should become available.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.