There are several steps drivers should take after they are involved in a car accident to ensure their best interests are protected.
Car accidents are a common occurrence on the roads in New York. The New York State Department of Health states that from 2012 to 2014, there were approximately 12,093 hospitalizations each year due to injuries caused by a car accident. Since car accidents are such a frequent occurrence, drivers should know how to handle the situation when they are involved in a collision.
Steps to take
First and foremost, drivers involved in a car accident should check themselves for injuries. If anyone is injured, emergency services should be contacted right away. Drivers should also complete the following actions when they get into a car accident:
- Get to safety – Following the collision, everyone involved should move away from the accident to a safe place. If the vehicles can be moved, they should be driven to the side of the road.
- Call 911 – Regardless of whether the accident is a major collision or a minor fender-bender, the police should be called. Once law enforcement officials arrive at the scene of the accident, they will document the situation and fill out an accident report.
- Wait for help – While everyone involved in the accident is waiting for help, drivers should turn off their cars, turn on their hazard lights and use road flares to alert other people to the situation, so they can slow down.
Drivers should also exchange insurance and contact information with all parties involved with the accident. The most important information to collect includes everyone’s full names and contact information as well as driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance policy information and the location of the accident.
Documenting the accident
In addition to gathering information from everyone involved, drivers should do their best to document the accident scene. It is recommended that drivers ask where they can obtain a copy of the accident report and talk to any witnesses who might have seen what happened at the time of the crash. Drivers should also take pictures of their vehicle, any other vehicles involved and the exact location of the collision.
Contact an attorney
Once information regarding the accident has been gathered and necessary medical care has been received, those involved in a collision, regardless of its severity, should contact an attorney in their area for legal assistance. This can help drivers ensure their legal rights are protected and that they are able to make a full emotional, financial and physical recovery from the accident.