There are few sounds more frightening than the squeal of tires and the crunch of metal against metal.
When you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, your first instinct is to make sure that you and anybody else who may be in your car did not suffer any injuries.
There are a number of steps you should take to ensure that you are protected now and in the future: medically, legally and financially.
1. Stay at the Scene
If you are able to do so safely, pull off the road and put on your hazard lights—but never, ever leave the scene.
In particular, if there are any injuries, leaving can get you arrested for hit-and-run with penalties that cost thousands of dollars and a substantial prison sentence.
2. Check on all Passengers and Drivers Involved in the Accident
Even an injury that seems insignificant now can turn into something more serious.
Knee and shoulder injuries and whiplash may that feel like a minor ache can turn to chronic pain.
Moreover, traumatic brain injuries are not always evident right away.
If you or anybody else may have sustained any injury, no matter how slight it may feel at the time, call 911 for medical assistance.
3. Call the Police
If you’ve already called 911, the police will show up.
If there are no injuries, it still pays to call law enforcement.
Getting a police report will be critical when filing an insurance claim.
If there is extensive vehicle damage (and yes, damage to guardrails, trees, telephone poles, buildings or other structures are likely covered under car insurance) a police report will be required.
Police will note pertinent information and most importantly, get statements from all drivers and any possible witnesses.
When questioned by the police, be courteous…and never admit guilt, even if you think you may have caused the accident.
4. Exchange Information
Although the police report will contain much of the information needed, you should exchange information with all drivers who were involved in the accident.
In addition to names, make sure you see their insurance card and include the policy number, the name of the insurance company and the date of expiration.
If they do not have an insurance card, make sure you get their contact information including name, phone number and all information listed on their drivers’ license, including the number and date of expiration.
Also get the make and model of the car and the license plate number.
5. Take Pictures
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is seldom truer than when documenting damage done in an auto accident.
If you can do so safely (meaning you are not in the way of active traffic, for instance), take pictures of damage to vehicles and property.
6. Consider Hiring an Attorney
Do you know all your rights following a car accident? Many of us don’t, and that’s why seeking legal advice may be in your best interest.
If the insurance company denies or lowballs your claim, your Yonkers car accident lawyer will work to make sure you get what is fair.
If you were injured, your attorney will file a claim on your behalf to make sure you get the medical care you need and other compensation you deserve.
And if you are sued, your lawyer can mount a legal defense.
Get Legal Guidance From a Skilled New York Personal Injury Attorney
Anytime there are injuries or significant vehicle or property damage, it is imperative that you get legal help.
If you’re not sure of all your rights, consulting a knowledgeable Yonkers lawyer from Sayegh & Sayegh can help get you the fair compensation and peace of mind you deserve.
Contact us today at (914) 968-5800.