Getting in a car accident always comes as a shock – even a minor accident can leave you shaken up for a few days, not to mention the possibility of injuries that could be life-changing.
What you do immediately following a car accident is crucial both for your safety and to ensure that you will be able to recover damages from your insurance company, and potentially from the responsible driver, who could be held liable for damages.
Because you will likely be flustered after a car accident, it’s important to know what steps to take ahead of time. You’re probably well aware of most of the information that you should try to gather at the scene – license and insurance of other involved drivers, plate numbers, contact info for witnesses, name and badge number of officers if they arrive on the scene, the address or intersection where the incident occurred.
Two things many people don’t think about in the immediate aftermath are to jot down their own quick account of what happened, and to move their vehicle out of the way of traffic. Both of these things are important, but if your car is drivable and you don’t move it, you can actually get ticketed for obstruction. Not something you want when you’re already dealing with the stress of an accident.
Beyond these important steps, though, you need to know who to call. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, so we thought we’d use this post to clarify what to do and offer suggestions on calls you might want to make.
Should I Call the NYPD?
In New York, police generally do not respond to non-injury accidents. In this case, you will submit a crash report after the fact.
However, you should call 911 immediately under the following circumstances:
- Anyone involved is hurt, or thinks that they may be hurt
- You are unable to move your vehicle off the roadway
- The other driver is intoxicated or belligerent
- You perceive any other threat to your safety
Getting Medical Help
As mentioned above, it is imperative to call 911 for emergency medical assistance if you or anyone else is hurt or could be hurt. Adrenaline masks pain, so even a small amount of pain could indicate a serious injury.
Also, if you begin to experience symptoms in the days following the accident, see a doctor — sometimes injuries aren’t apparent for quite some time after an accident.
Letting People Know
You know who might want a call if you’re in an accident? Your loved ones. Whether that means your parents, kids, spouse, other romantic partner, or a friend, give them a call so that someone in your life knows what happened.
This is particularly important if you are expected for some reason, but even if you’re not it’s a good idea. If your vehicle isn’t drivable or you have to head to the hospital, their help can be invaluable.
Protecting Yourself Legally
Sometimes taking all of these steps isn’t enough after a car accident, especially if the accident was severe, or if the at-fault driver is denying culpability.
In these cases, it is prudent to consult with a personal injury attorney, who will ensure that your rights are protected, and help you get the necessary compensation to recover from your accident.
You don’t have to wait – call as soon as the crash occurs. The faster you begin working with a knowledgeable lawyer, the more likely you are to receive the compensation you deserve.