After a car accident, there are several things that you should do to ensure your safety and to protect yourself from legal ramifications. In addition, you may need to contact your insurance company for a claim. These steps can be overwhelming and confusing, so it’s best to have an experienced lawyer on your side to guide you through the process.
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As soon as possible after an accident, seek medical attention. This will confirm that your injuries are directly related to the crash and help you build a stronger case in a court of law. You should also keep a written record of your treatment and doctor visits, so you can submit this information to your insurance company later as part of the claim process.
When you arrive at the scene of an accident, take notes with your phone or a pen and paper of all the people involved, their names, addresses, vehicle make and model, license plate numbers, and insurance information. This information will be helpful to both the police and your insurance company, advises New York car accident attorney Robert Luna.
If anyone else was injured or was a passenger in a parked car, make sure to get their name and phone number so you can call them later when necessary. This will help the police or your insurance company identify any witnesses who might not have been able to provide evidence at the scene but can be useful in a court of law.
If you have to talk to the other driver at the scene of the accident, do so calmly and without speaking of blame or expressing any anger or frustration. “You want to avoid making any admissions of fault or getting into an argument,” says Scott Holeman, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.
Often, these statements are used against you in court if you later claim to have been at fault for the crash. You might feel you’re being polite or worried about your own safety, but anything you say could come back to haunt you.
New York state law requires drivers in a crash to stop at the scene and exchange information. Failure to do so can lead to serious penalties, including a fine or jail time.
Be prepared to be interviewed by the police. They will assess the situation and write a report about what happened. They will also likely interview witnesses to the crash and ask them questions that can help determine who was at fault in the accident.
You should take pictures of the scene as soon as possible. This will give you a detailed history of the accident and allow you to remember it when you have difficulty recalling it.
If there were any injuries, try to determine who was at fault for the accident. You can do this by asking the other driver if they were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash or if they were injured.
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