If you live in New York, you’re probably no stranger to seeing car accidents on the side of the road. An average of three New Yorkers die in traffic accidents daily. Many of those wrecks happen between 85th and 98th streets, one of the worst spots for crashes in Queens, N.Y.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
After a crash, the first thing to do is to ensure everyone is safe. If anyone is seriously hurt, have someone call an ambulance right away.
Don’t try to move an unconscious person on your own unless you have absolutely no choice. They may be badly injured, and moving them could do more harm than good.
Move your car and the other driver’s car out of the road if you’re able. Don’t attempt this on a busy highway because another driver could hit you.
Contact the Police
Once everyone is out of harm’s way, call the police for help. If you call an ambulance, the dispatcher will send the police, so you don’t need to call them yourself.
An officer will ask you for your insurance and contact information. They’ll also want to talk to the other driver and any witnesses about what happened. What you say will go into the police report, which you can refer back to when filing a claim with the insurance company.
Do not leave the scene until an officer gives you the okay, even if you know the accident wasn’t your fault.
Document the Accident Scene
While you’re still at the scene, take pictures of your car, any injuries you have, and anything else that seems important. For instance, if the other driver hit you because of a non-working traffic light or hidden sign, that could be important evidence for your case.
Write down details of the accident as soon as you can so you don’t forget anything. If you find witnesses, write down their account of the accident and their contact information. You and your Queens car accident lawyer can refer back to your notes later.
See a Doctor
You may not feel hurt in a car accident, but that lack of apparent injury can be misleading. Internal injuries can flare up days, sometimes weeks, after an accident. You could wake up the next morning and realize you’re in more pain than you first thought.
Skipping the doctor also does you a disservice when dealing with the insurance company. The insurance adjuster might say that your injuries weren’t all that bad if you didn’t need to see a doctor for them. If you can’t prove otherwise, that could mean a lower settlement.
Make an Accident Report
Filing an accident report should be high on any list about what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault. You’ll need to make a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of the crash for accidents involving $1,000 or more of property damage. If you don’t, you could lose your license for a while.
Call the Insurance Company
New York is a no-fault state, so you must file a claim with your auto insurance company after the accident to start a proper claim process. It can pay for at least some of your medical bills and property damage to your car.
If your injuries were really serious, you may be able to file with the at-fault driver’s insurer as well.
If insurance doesn’t cover everything, you might want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit you. New York gives you three years from the date of the accident to do so.
Contact a Queens Car Accident Lawyer
An attorney can help you determine how fault is determined in a car accident if you’d like to sue the other driver. Your lawyer will consider things like the police report, road conditions, pictures of the scene, and witness statements.
If you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault, don’t accept a settlement without talking to a Queens car accident attorney first. Call Elliot Ifraimoff & Associates, P.C., at (718) 205-1010 for your consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you have to report a car accident in New York?
You have 10 days to report a car accident in New York if the accident caused serious injuries or more than $1,000 in property damage. When you tell the DMV about the crash, you’ll need to give them a copy of the police report.
Can you sue for non-economic damages in New York?
You can only sue the other driver for non-economic damages if your case meets certain criteria. To do so, the accident must have caused what’s considered a “serious injury.”
Serious car accident injuries can include major scarring, amputation, fractures, and the loss of a pregnancy.
Do you need a police report to file an insurance claim in New York?
In New York, you don’t need a police report to make a claim with your or the other driver’s insurance company. Even so, it’s a good idea to have the police report on hand. It can help you answer questions about the accident and negotiate with the insurance company.
How long does it take to settle a car accident lawsuit in New York?
It can take a few months to settle a car accident lawsuit in New York. It’s possible for a car accident lawsuit to drag on even longer, though, depending on the details of your case.
If you’d like to know more about what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault, reach out to Elliot Ifraimoff & Associates today.