If you are ever in a car accident in Long Island and not sure what to do, don’t worry, we got you covered!
Car accidents can be traumatic for anyone involved. Often times, we may not think to ask certain questions or make specific observations about the factors involved at the scene of an accident. Having the knowledge to be proactive and take charge of what needs to be done to protect yourself can make all the difference. Below is a list of frequently asked questions with information that may help you make the correct decisions if you are ever involved in a car accident.
If I am in a car accident, should I stop?
Yes, you always stop. Regardless of the circumstances involved in the accident, you must stop. You should always assess the situation and survey the damage involved and see if there were any injuries. If you leave the scene of an accident, you can be found guilty of a “hit and run” crime, even if the accident was not your fault in the first place.
What should I do first?
You should first determine if there were any injuries to either yourself or the other individuals involved in the accident. You may want to call for emergency medical care to have anyone that has been injured examined, including your own self. In days to come, if any symptom should develop do not ignore the need to seek medical attention. The police should also be notified to create an accident report, clear any debris from the road or relocate vehicles to clear up any traffic that may have accumulated. A police report provides written proof of the accident for insurance companies and allows statements to be made to help foster any investigation that make succeed an accident.
What information should I gather from the scene of an accident?
- The name, address, license number, phone number, registration information and insurance information of the drivers involved
- The license plate number, make, model, year and color of all vehicles involved
- Full name, address and phone number of the occupants of any vehicle, pedestrians involved and witnesses to the accident
- Actual location of the accident
- Police officer’s name, department and badge number
Should I take pictures of the accident scene?
It’s always a good idea to document the damage and scene of accident. Many of us have the ability to take photos using our smart phones. For others, keeping a disposable camera in our glove box can be helpful in these types of situations. Make sure to photograph the car from different angles as well as damage to any other vehicle involved in the accident. Photograph any important traffic signs in the road, intersections and the location of the accident. These pictures may be helpful for any report made to your insurance company when assessing fault and estimates for damage.
What if I get a ticket?
Do not submit any plea of guilty or not guilty until you have consulted a lawyer. If a ticket needs to be signed, it is merely for acknowledgement that the ticket was written and given to you. It does represent an admission of guilt. Comply with any requests by the officers that report to the scene of an accident and always stick to the facts. Do not add your opinions, point blame or argue with the officer.
Do I have to report an accident to my insurance company?
Your insurance policy does require you to make any report of an accident that you have been involved with. If damages need to be assessed and repaired, your insurance company many need a police report, photographs of the damage and a statement from yourself as well as any other passengers involved. Additionally, the other insurance companies of the other driver’s involved will also be notified so that an investigation can begin to determine who is at fault. If you have any questions regarding the inadequacies of your insurance coverage, contact your attorney. Make sure to request a copy of the claim from your insurance company for your own personal records.
What other things should I make observations about when the accident occurs?
- Observe if anyone is injured and receives medical attention at the scene of the accident.
- Make not of anyone that claims to not be injured
- Record the time of day, weather conditions and road conditions at the time of the accident
- Was there anything not functioning on the other vehicles involved such as a brake light?
- Record all parts of the vehicle that were damaged
- Record an explanation of the events involved leading up to the accident, as well as how it occurred
- Make record if any of the driver’s involved make a statement that shows fault or responsibility for the accident (I wasn’t wearing my glasses, my radio was too loud and I was distracted, I was on my cell phone etc.)