Car accidents happen in seconds, taking your life from normal to terrifying in a flash. What you do immediately following that accident is crucial. While you’re most likely shaken up, the Snyder Law Firm has 5 first steps to take when getting into a car accident.
1. Stay Put
It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information in the state of New York. You can move to safety if you feel well enough to do so, however, it may be wise to leave the scene in tact to ensure the police report is accurate. Only move your vehicle if you are in an unsafe location.
2. Call the Police
Call the police to report the accident. If anyone is seriously injured, inform the dispatcher and request medical services. When the police arrive, they may question everyone involved, and they will write up an accident report. This document will be crucial evidence if you choose to seek compensation.
3. Get Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine, you should get checked out by a medical professional. There are many injuries that may not be noticeable immediately following an accident that can be detected with tests at the hospital.
Plus, making notes of any injuries, even if they seem small, will help you if they turn into a more serious problem. You can take legal action and receive compensation for your damages.
4. Capture Evidence
Photos and videos of the accident scene are important for evidence. You should capture the visible damage to your vehicle, the position it is in compared to the other vehicles, and any obstructions. Document everything you can, and if your injuries prevent you from doing so yourself, have someone assist you.
5. Get Insurance and Contact Information from the Other Driver
It’s also important to exchange contact information with the other driver or drivers along with their insurance information. If there were any bystanders that witnessed the accident, you should obtain their information too.
Some drivers may not be forthcoming with this information, which is another reason why calling the police to file a report is a smart move. They must provide it to the police.
With regard to your insurance, you’ll want to call them to report the accident. By having all this information handy, it will be easier to submit your claim and get reimbursed for damages.
Additionally, for the state of New York, you must file a motor vehicle accident report with the DMV. This needs to be done within 10 days of the accident if it caused in excess of $1,000 worth of damages. Failure to do so may result in having your license suspended.
One Final Step to Take After Your Car Accident
After you have done these 5 first steps following your car accident, it helps to contact an experienced car accident lawyer. All too often, those injured in a car accident realize that the reimbursement from insurance isn’t enough for medical bills, repair expenses, or loss of income while you heal from your injuries.
In some cases, injuries may be so extensive that you will be unable to work for a long time. It can be hard to get the compensation you deserve on your own, especially when the bills keep piling up. Most car accident lawyers offer a free initial consultation where you can see if it is worth pursuing a case and securing the funds you need to get your life back to normal.