Here in New York, owning a car isn’t necessary. For those who do, however, there’s a fairly good chance of experiencing a fender bender somewhere along the line. In 2014 (the most recent year for compiled numbers) there were over 125,000 car crashes in NYC alone.
If you’re involved in an auto accident, how well you handle things can play an important role in the way your experience unfolds. Depending on your situation, you’ll probably be dealing with police officers, insurance adjusters, and medical personnel. It’s crucial to remain calm and concentrate on doing what you can to strengthen your case.
Below is a checklist of things to do when involved in an auto accident. Print this list, laminate it and keep it in your glove compartment.
- Download and print this accident report form. Welcome to paperwork heaven! You’ll have to submit this form if you’re involved in an auto accident in New York. Remember, your license can be suspended if you do not report an accident you’re involved in.
- Call 911 as quickly as you can so that help can be dispatched to the scene.
- Photograph all vehicles involved in the accident, especially their license tags. Pictures speak volumes, and taking photos of the damage means that you will not have to write down every notation. Remember to get close up photos of any damage to your vehicle. You should also photograph objects at the scene – including debris and skid marks – as well as street signs and other markers that pinpoint the location.
- Contact your insurance provider. Provide your agent with as much information as you can, and follow their instructions.
- Jot down the name of the towing company that towed your vehicle.
- Never admit fault. You can be courteous to the other drivers but any admission of fault or of even being distracted can greatly affect your case later. The only information you should provide is
- Your name
- Your vehicle’s make, color, and VIN
- Your insurance company’s name and your policy number
- Make sure you have the names and insurance information of all involved drivers.
- Seek out witnesses, and make sure you have their contact information.
- Contact your lawyer. An experienced lawyer who specializes in motor vehicle accidents is your best bet for positioning yourself for a positive outcome.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, contact the Fitzgerald Law Firm for a free consultation.