Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists all put themselves at risk of traffic accidents when they navigate through the usually congested streets of New York City. Unluckily, these accidents happen in relatively large numbers nowadays.
In line with NYPD’s TrafficStat data, there are approximately 230,000 motor vehicle accidents per year in New York City, which breaks down to nearly 630 car accidents every day in the Big Apple. Additionally, about 50,000 people get injured in New York City every year due to car accidents.
Everyone who has been involved in a car accident knows how confusing and scary the aftermath of car accidents can be. For example, besides dealing with injuries and your overall wellbeing, if someone else caused the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for all the damages through a personal injury claim or a lawsuit in the NYC courts, for which you can read more here. Nevertheless, below you can find the most critical steps you should take after experiencing a car accident in New York City. These will now only keep you as safe as possible at the crash scene, but they will also ensure you are prepared to file an insurance claim for your damages or bring a lawsuit against any negligent parties.
Stay At The Scene, But Preferably Move To Safety
In New York State, it’s illegal to abandon the scene of a motor vehicle accident before exchanging information. For that reason, stay at the car accident scene. Afterward, depending on the circumstances of the accident, decide what would be the safest option for you.
You can either drive your vehicle to a place out of traffic or if it’s not safe to drive the car, get yourself and other passengers to a secure location near the accident on foot. Remember that you should only do this if you feel good enough to do so since your or another passenger’s injuries may be severe, and you may need immediate medical attention. In that case, call 911.
Take Photos And Videos Of The Accident Scene And The Vehicles Involved
As long as you can move around safely, use your phone to take evidence of the car crash scene. Or, if you’re incapacitated, ask for a witness or someone else who’s able to take the photos.
Focus on all visible damages to your car, the position of your vehicle among the other vehicles, the sidewalk, nearby buildings, and any obstacles like lamp posts and trash cans. Pictures of the accident scene and the damage done to your car can act as evidence in a potential case.
Also, even though more car accidents are not criminal by nature, several scenarios could lead to drivers facing criminal charges. So, if you were driving under the influence, took part in a hit-and-run accident, or were driving recklessly and caused a car accident, make sure to contact some of the best criminal defense lawyers in New York to prepare yourself for the different upcoming scenarios of the accident. If you can, talk with witnesses who saw the accident and ask for their contact information. They may be able to provide testimony if a case regarding your accidents ends up in court.
Call The Police To File A Police Report Of The Scene
In events where a person is injured or killed due to a motor vehicle accident, you are required by New York State law to stay at the scene and immediately call the police. On the other hand, if the accident has only resulted in vehicle damage, you’re not required to file a police report. Nevertheless, even if the accident is minor and there are no significant injuries to report, it’s still beneficial to have the police come to the scene.
This way, they will file a police report that can act as a record of proof for any vehicle damage. Get your hands on a copy of the police report, as even if it may not be legally necessary, it can be beneficial for you if you plan on submitting a claim for damages to the insurance provider, as many providers won’t accept a claim if a police report is not available.
Contact Your Insurance Provider To File A Report About The Accident
After the accident, you should report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible. At the end of the day, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to file a claim and be reimbursed for damages through insurance. By the rule of thumb, it’s clever to submit your insurance claim as soon as possible, but within 30 days at the most.
Furthermore, in NYC, you must file a motor vehicle accident report with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) within ten days of the accident if the accident caused over $1,000 in damages. If you fail to do so, your driver’s license could be suspended.
Once you make sure that everyone involved is okay or received the necessary medical care, call the police department to file a police report, and talk with your insurance provider regarding the accident, it’s time to contact an experienced attorney to provide you with legal assistance. They will help you protect your legal rights and make a complete physical, financial, emotional recovery from the collision.