For those few among us that have not been involved in a car accident, count one’s blessings. Unfortunately, with the modern world comes modern perils, and car accidents are just one of the many dangers we have created. For those lucky enough to not have to deal with a car accident, the one question that one must be able to answer is, what does one do after a car accident?
If one witnesses a car accident, call 9-1-1 immediately. Tell them what occurred, where it occurred and then leave contact information. Especially in cases where there is a factual dispute or where the police do not arrive or file a report, witnesses can be a key difference in finding the truth and getting justice for those injured by another’s negligence. Of course, if one is simply driving past an accident where first responders have already arrived or where one can see people on their cell phones, no call to 9-1-1 is necessary.
If one’s car has not already alerted first responders, one’s first action should be to call 9-1-1. Tell the 9-1-1 operator where the accident occurred. They will then want to know the extent of the injuries and damages. This is a key question because if they determine that it is too minor to justify even sending a police officer, no report will be filed.
Next, gathering evidence. Before moving one’s vehicle, take pictures. Even if a police report is filed, showing the police officer the location of the vehicles at the impact site will help determine fault. Though, if one cannot safely exit their vehicle to take pictures, even taking pictures from inside the car is better than no pictures at all. After the vehicles are in a safe location, take pictures of all the damage, including to all the cars and any other structures. Take notes of what one remembers, either mentally or on your phone. As time marches on, our memories can fade. And, if there are any witnesses nearby, try to get their information as well. Remember, there is no such thing as too much information.
Finally, after calling one’s insurance company to set up towing and rental car, call a New York attorney. The attorney can coordinate with the insurance thereafter, help investigate the accident and most importantly, fight to hold the negligent driver accountable.
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