Preparing for an accident before it happens: How to handle a collision

There are several steps drivers should take following an accident to ensure all parties are able to make a full recovery and their rights are protected.

Car accidents are a common occurrence on the roads in New York and in all other states throughout the U.S. According to insurance industry estimates, the average driver will get into a car accident approximately once every 17.9 years. For this reason, drivers should know how to handle a collision in the event that they are involved in one in the near future.

First steps

Immediately following the accident, all involved drivers should move their vehicles to the side of the road so they are out of traffic if they are able to do so. If moving the vehicles is not a possibility, all drivers should turn on their vehicle's hazard lights.

Next, drivers should stop their car and take a breath so they are able to remain calm. Then, if not injured, drivers should check on the others involved to see if they are alright, and an ambulance should be called if there is any speculation about whether medical care is needed.

Contact the police

Once medical assistance has been contacted, drivers should call the police to inform them of the accident. Even if the accident is minor, drivers should still plan on contacting law enforcement officials so a collision record can be put on file. Drivers should cooperate with the law enforcement officials, but refrain from admitting fault or placing blame on another driver.

Gather information

In the aftermath of the accident, drivers should also attempt to gather as much information as they can about what occurred and who was involved. Some of the information drivers want to gather should include the following:

  • The insurance information and license plate numbers of all involved
  • The driver and passenger names of each vehicle
  • The models and makes of all the vehicles involved
  • The contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident

Drivers should also note the exact location of the accident and the name of any law enforcement officials who responded at the scene of the collision.

File an insurance claim

Following the gathering of information, drivers should contact their insurance company to file a claim for the accident. At this point, drivers should not talk to anyone else about the collision besides their insurance provider, attorney and law enforcement.

Reach out to an attorney

Drivers who are injured in a car accident in New York may wonder how they will fully recover from the physical and financial harm they experience. For this reason, injured drivers should contact an attorney soon after involvement in a collision for assistance asserting their legal rights.