What to Do When You Get in a Car Accident?
Whether you are an experienced driver or a new one, knowing what to do after a car accident is crucial. Accidents can happen to anyone and leave you with devastating injuries. But don’t worry; by staying informed and acting quickly, you can handle the consequences of a car accident with ease.
So, what to do after a car accident?
Check for injuries and get medical attention if needed. Move your vehicle to a safe place, flick on hazard lights, and exchange contact information with other drivers and any witnesses. Next, take pictures, file a police report, and inform your insurer. Lastly, make sure to consult a car accident lawyer. If you’re facing a legal crisis after a car accident in New York, turn to the top car crash lawyers at Uptown Injury. Our seasoned attorneys know exactly how to support you and safeguard your rights after a car crash.
Steps to Take Control After a Car Accident
When you find yourself in a car accident, you can follow these essential steps so you know exactly what to do next with confidence and clear understanding.
Step 1: Call 911
If you are injured in a car accident, acting ASAP is essential. Reach out for emergency services by dialing 911 to get the medical attention you need. If there’s someone nearby, don’t hesitate to ask them to make the call for you.
In situations where the injuries are serious, it’s important to stay at the accident scene. Because moving around could worsen things. Hence, it’s best to wait for trained emergency service to come to the scene. They have the expertise to provide the right medical care.
Remember to also check on the well-being of others involved in the accident. If you notice anyone is hurt, don’t delay – call 911 or ask a bystander to call them for you.
Step 2: Move to a Safe Spot
If possible, without risk, consider moving your vehicle to the side of the road or a nearby sidewalk. This can help clear the way for other traffic and prevent further issues. However, if you can drive easily and your car is creating a traffic block, make it a priority to relocate it to the side of the road.
Alternatively, your main concern should be your safety. If moving your vehicle isn’t safe or practical, it’s best to stay put at the accident site until the police arrive. If you need to have your car towed, you can also contact emergency roadside assistance for help.
Step 3: Notify the Police in Your Area
Reporting your accident to the police is a must, no matter how serious or minor the accident is. In certain states, such as New York, it’s even a legal requirement.
According to New York state law, you have to report your accident within the 10-day deadline.
After this, the police officers will take photos of the accident spot and create an official accident report. Moreover, if the police can’t make it to the scene for some reason, you still have the option to visit the nearest police station and file a report yourself.
This report is a crucial piece of information when you file a claim with your insurance company. It can help speed up the process of settling your auto insurance claim and getting fair compensation for your damages.
Step 4: Arrange a Conversation With a Police Officer
After a car accident, it’s essential to have a conversation with the responding police officer or supervisor. Politely request them to listen to your accident story.
Additionally, you can inquire about the accident report’s status and when you can expect to obtain a copy of this report. These details will be important when dealing with insurance companies and legal matters.
Step 5: Collect Information
Once you’ve confirmed your safety and filed a police report, it’s important to exchange information with the other driver who was part of the accident. Following the advice from the Insurance Information Institute (III), make sure to get the necessary details, which include:
- Full names of all the drivers involved
- Contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license numbers and license plate number
- Name and contact details of any eyewitnesses
- Vehicle’s, color, model, and type
- Vehicle registration number
- Receipts for a rental car
While exchanging this information, avoid discussing with other parties about who is at fault. The insurance agent will determine fault later by investigating the accident, considering everyone’s statements, and reviewing evidence such as the police report and photos.
Step 6: Document the Accident Scene
To have a smooth insurance process, it is highly important that you keep a record of the accident place. To do this, you should include this information:
Identify the Officers: When the state police come to your accident scene, note down the police officer’s name and badge number.
Take Photos: Thoroughly document the accident scene by taking pictures of your vehicle from multiple angles, capturing the damage to the involved cars to calculate the repair costs later. Moreover, don’t forget to photograph the other car’s license plate number.
Write Down Names: Ensure you record the names and addresses of all the passengers involved in the accident. Additionally, note down the information on all the motor vehicles involved in the accident. In some cases, your insurance providers can also ask for this information to prove your claim.
Talk to Witnesses: Document the witness’s statements about your accident. Also, write down the names and contact information of these eyewitnesses.
Road and Weather Conditions: Ensure you record any adverse road and weather conditions that might have led to your accident. Here are some examples:
- Potholes and road damage
- Slippery or wet roads
- Poorly marked or absent road signs
- Construction zones and detours
- Heavy rain or flooding
- Dense fog
- Strong winds and gusts
Step 7: Maintain a Record of Lost Wages or Income
When you’ve been injured in a car accident, one of the often-overlooked consequences is the loss of income due to missed work. According to New York state laws, it’s crucial to record the days you had to take off work because of the accident. For this, you must include the following:
- The dates and time
- Salary verification statement
- Bank statements, pay stubs, and any related documents
- The reasons for your absence
You must provide this documentation to your car accident attorney and insurance agent to seek compensation or make insurance claims.
Step 8: Maintain Record of All Expenses and Receipts
Following the accident, keep a detailed record of all receipts related to expenses. Make sure to include:
- Medical bills
- Car repair invoices
- Car rental receipts
- Any other costs incurred due to the accident
These detailed records will help you when it’s time to seek compensation from insurance companies or the responsible party.
Step 9: Contact Your Insurance Company
Reach out to your insurance company as soon as possible. In New York, insurance companies demand immediate filing of the claim within the statute of limitations, which is three years from the accident date. Once you file the claim, the insurance provider takes 40-45 days to investigate your case to determine the liability.
Therefore, provide them with all the necessary details of the accident. Your insurance provider will help you through the claims process and inform you about your coverage. Being proactive with your insurance company can help ease the resolution of your claim.
Step 10: Call the Other Driver Insurance Company
If the accident involved another driver, you should contact their insurance company. Share the accident details, ask for their claim process, and file the legal claim to seek the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Step 11: File an Accident Report With DMV
In many cases, if you cannot report your accident to the local police, you also have the option to file an accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, DMV considers certain conditions when you report your accident to them, such as:
- Vehicle damage is more than $2500
- Your car is at a total loss or towed
- You suffer any minor or severe injuries
- Wrongful death of your loved one
Ensure you follow your local regulations and complete this step promptly. Filing the report with DMV helps maintain accurate records and can protect you in the long run.
Step 12: Stay Alert to High-Pressure Insurance Tactics
Be cautious when dealing with insurance companies that seem overly aggressive or pushy. You have the right to take your time and make informed decisions.
For example, when there’s a disagreement about who’s responsible for a car accident, the other party’s insurance company will examine all the available evidence and police reports. They’ll also speak with the people involved in the incident, and they might attempt to talk to you.
It’s important to be cautious and avoid participating in interviews with the insurance agent representing the party at fault. They could try to record your statements or ask questions that could place blame on you, making it harder for you to receive fair compensation for your losses.
You must consult with a car accident attorney if you feel insurance adjusters are trying to pressure you into a settlement or claim resolution you’re uncomfortable with.
Step 13: Keep a Personal Diary or Journal
Throughout the recovery process, maintain a personal diary or journal. In this journal, you can note down the following:
- Your physical and emotional challenges
- Daily progress on recovery from the accident
- Settlement rejections from the insurance company
- Delayed checks
- Any interactions related to the accident
If you have a journal, all these details can serve as valuable evidence to demonstrate the accident’s impact on your life.
Step 14: Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Accident cases often demand a thorough investigation to establish liability and prove fault. Therefore, hiring an expert car accident attorney can save you from a tremendous amount of trouble.
A lawyer can manage all communication with the other driver’s insurer. They will carefully collect and analyze evidence related to the accident, such as a police report, witness statements, surveillance footage, and medical records.
Furthermore, a car accident lawyer brings in-depth knowledge of personal injury laws and insurance regulations, which can be difficult to grasp without legal support. The best thing about having a car crash attorney by your side is that you get personalized support according to the circumstances of your case.
Prepare Yourself for Car Crashes
You can’t deny that preparing yourself for the possibility of a car crash and minimizing its impact is important for your safety and well-being. You can take these essential actions:
- Keep your most important information in the car storage compartment, such as your ID card, vehicle registration documents, driver’s license, health insurance card, and emergency contact numbers. These documents can be helpful during the event of a car accident.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car, including first aid supplies, a flashlight, a multi-tool, and non-perishable food and water. This kit can be a lifesaver in an accident.
- To prepare for a car accident, wear a seatbelt because it is your first line of defense in a car crash. Make it a habit to buckle up whenever you get in a vehicle, whether you’re the driver or a passenger. Seatbelts can reduce the risk of injury in a collision.
- Maintain your vehicle daily. Check if car brakes, tires, lights, and other essential components work well. Furthermore, don’t forget to check your car’s fluids.
- You can also prepare for incidents by enhancing your driving skills, like taking a defensive driving course. This way, you can avoid the dangers on the road.
Rise in Car Insurance Rates After a Car Accident
After you get in a car accident, you might have noticed that your premiums start rising. This can be a source of frustration for you. According to a recent analysis by Nerdwallet, car insurance rates can increase up to 51% annually.
Here are four important reasons that can help you understand car insurance rates so that you can find ways to mitigate the costs:
- One of the major factors driving up car insurance rates is the ever-increasing cost of vehicle repairs and medical treatments. Modern vehicles have sophisticated technology and components, making repairs more expensive. Furthermore, medical costs continue to soar and are passed on to insurers, leading to higher premiums for policyholders.
- Insurance fraud is another factor that impacts your car insurance rates. Some individuals engage in fraudulent activities, such as staged accidents and false claims, which cost insurance companies billions of dollars each year. To combat these fraudulent activities, insurers may raise premiums for all policyholders.
- The frequency of car accidents has been on the rise in recent years. When insurance companies have to pay out more claims due to accidents, they adjust their rates to maintain financial stability.
- Another major reason is the changes in state laws. Such changes can affect how insurance companies calculate premiums, potentially leading to rate hikes.
How to Manage Rising Car Insurance Costs?
To manage these rates, do the following:
- You must compare quotes from multiple insurance providers to ensure you’re receiving the best possible rate. Furthermore, many insurers offer discounts when you combine multiple insurance policies, such as auto and health insurance. Combining policies with one company can lead to cost savings.
- Increasing your deductible can also lower your car insurance costs. Deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in. Just ensure that you can afford the higher deductible in case of an accident.
Contact Uptown Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, we understand the pain you may be experiencing. At Uptown Injury Law, we’re not just a car accident law firm; we’re your advocates during this difficult time. Our compassionate and highly skilled team of car accident lawyers in New York is here to stand by your side and fight for the justice you deserve.
Why Choose Uptown Injury as Your Car Accident Lawyers in New York?
- Experience: With 15+ years of experience, our attorneys have a proven track record of representing car accident victims, and we have the expertise to navigate the complexities of your case.
- Compassion: We understand the pain and suffering you’re going through, and we’re here to provide you with the support and legal guidance you need.
- Financial Relief: We’ll help you seek compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost income, and other losses.
- Peace of Mind: With Uptown Injury, you’re not alone in your journey to justice. We’ll shoulder the legal burdens so you can focus on healing and rebuilding your life.
- Flexible Services: Our lawyers offer services for car accidents in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
What Should I Do if I’m Involved in a Car Accident?
After ensuring everyone’s safety, call the police and 911 to seek medical attention. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. Gather evidence, take pictures, and get witness information. Lastly, report the accident to your own insurer and consult a car accident lawyer for legal guidance.
How Much Insurance Amount Can I Expect for My Auto Accident?
The insurance amount varies based on the extent of injuries, property damage, lost wages or income, and pain and suffering. However, an experienced car accident attorney can evaluate your case and help determine a fair settlement amount.
Is New York a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
Yes, New York is a no-fault state. This implies that your insurance company covers your medical expenses and other bills after an accident, regardless of who caused it. However, in certain cases, you may be able to step outside of the no-fault insurance system and sue the at-fault driver for additional damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
In NY, the statute of limitations for filing your car accident claim is three years from the accident date. Therefore, taking legal action within this timeframe is essential to preserve your rights.
Can I Handle My Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
While you can handle your claim independently, having a car accident attorney can help you get fair compensation. Moreover, a car accident lawyer understands the legal complexities, negotiates with insurance companies, and represents your best interests.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A car crash lawyer will investigate your case, gather evidence, calculate damages, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if needed. They aim to secure maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Get Paid in New York?
In New York, settlements are typically paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the settlement amount exceeds the policy limit, the at-fault driver may be responsible for the remaining balance.
Can I Recover Compensation if I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident in New York?
Yes, New York follows the comparative negligence rule. Consequently, you could still recover compensation even if you were partially at fault. However, your settlement award may be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, you may be able to seek compensation through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. A car accident lawyer can help you navigate your policy options during these complex situations.
What Is the Legal Fee of a Car Accident Lawyer in New York?
A contingency fee basis is the usual working model for car accident lawyers. This means they earn payment solely by achieving a settlement or verdict for you. They get a percentage of the compensation they secure for you, and you aren’t required to make upfront payments.