Car accidents can happen at any time. You might be having a texting war with your significant other, or you may be turning the dial away from the recent pop phenom's grating song, and end up hitting someone or being hit.
What happens at that point? What are you supposed to do?
The question of what to do after a car accident in New York is not one to be taken lightly, because often car accidents lead to medical bills, lost wages at work, pain and suffering claims, and potentially even long-term care needs.
Here are the steps that you should take if you are involved a New York car accident.
One: Before you even get in the car, become familiar with your insurance policy. In New York, all drivers must purchase insurance; there are no exceptions.
Two: Once an accident does occur, you must stay at the scene. A hit-and-run is usually considered a crime and you don't want criminal penalties on top of personal injury liability for a car accident. If the accident is serious, then you should call the police. If it is minor, then you probably don't need to, as long as the other driver is being cooperative. You want to allow the officer to get your view on the accident; and try to get a copy of the report or find out where you can get it.
Three: Why do you need the other driver to be cooperative? Well, so you can exchange information.This would include the name, phone number, addresses, driver license numbers, license plate number, and insurance information.
Four: Take pictures. This will be of use to the insurance adjuster down the road.
Five: Call your insurance company and inform them that you were involved in an accident and ask about what steps you need to take.
Six: If there are medical bills or personal injury involved, then speak to a local attorney about how to recover these damages. You will want to ask about New York's pain and suffering damages limitations, as well as how serious an injury must be before you would be able to get damages. There are also time limit constraints related to the severity of the injury, so it is urgent for you to speak to an attorney.
A New York car accident can often cause undue hardship on a person or a family so it is best to be prepared in advance.
This post is part of FindLaw's Legal U series. We are working to help you learn what to do in your city to cope with some of the legal problems, questions, or issues that come up in daily life. Please come back to learn more from future posts in this series.