DON’T LEAVE THE SCENE
New York law requires that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in personal injury, property damage or death stop his vehicle at the scene of the accident. Furthermore, you are required to give your name, address and show your driver’s license and insurance information card to the person who is injured or whose property is damaged, or to a police officer.
If you or anyone else is injured, clearly communicate such injury and your location as precisely as possible so aid can reach you without unnecessary delay. It is also very important to document the fact that you were injured in the accident as it can affect any claim you may later bring seeking compensation for your injuries When police arrive, give the officers the basic facts of the accident. Often times police officers will not make a report for minor accidents. However, insist that the officer make a report for your motor vehicle accident. The official report may help you later either by supporting your claim against someone else or protecting you against a claim made by another motorist.
DOCUMENT THE SCENE
Using your camera phone or disposable camera, take pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles before moving them. It is important to take pictures of the damages to the vehicles and the scene of the accident, including any skid marks that might be on the road. Make a note of the details of the accident, including date and time, road conditions, weather conditions and speed of all other cars involved. Drawing a sketch or diagram of the collision will be a helpful memory aid later on. It may be months, or even years, before the insurance companies fully resolve any claims.
STAY SAFE AND PROPERLY WARN OTHER VEHICLES
The scene of an accident is a dangerous place. Keep well back from the road and avoid standing between two cars. Do your best to prevent further accidents. You may be liable for damages suffered by approaching motorists unless they are properly warned. Activate the flashers on your vehicle and if it’s nighttime, put out flares facing oncoming traffic. If there are no obvious personal injuries, and the car can be driven normally, move the vehicles off the road.
EXCHANGE INFORMATION WITH OTHER DRIVERS
Always keep pen & paper in your vehicle so you can record the names and address of all other drivers involved in the accident. If possible, also note the names and addresses of other passengers. Also note the ownership, license number, year and make of all the cars involved in the accident. Obtain the names of the insurance companies and the policy numbers covering the other autos in the accident. But do not discuss the issue of fault with the other drivers.
Witnesses will be a tremendous help to you in any court action arising from the accident if there is a dispute about the cause of the accident. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of as many witnesses as possible. If witnesses refuse to identify themselves, at least note the license numbers of their vehicles.
COOPERATE WITH THE INVESTIGATING POLICE OFFICER
Cooperate with the investigating officer by giving him the facts of the accident. However, do not admit fault or sign any statements at the scene as to how or why the accident occurred. You should consult an attorney before giving a statement of opinion. It may be determined that you were in fact not at fault and the other driver was to blame. Get the name and badge number of any offer that responds to the scene and get the name and contact information of the police officer who will write the report. Do not leave the scene of the accident until the investigating officer allows you to leave. Once an officer completes his or her investigation of the accident at the scene, there will be an accident report number that you will use to obtain a copy of your report in one to two weeks.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AND REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO THE COMMISSIONER OF MOTOR VEHICLES
New York law requires that the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident in New York State file a written report with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident. However, you should call your insurance company representative immediately after the accident and have them prepare the necessary forms (MV-104) and ask about your rights and time limitations for filing a claim. Furthermore, if you fail to notify your insurance company of the accident in writing within a reasonable time, it could be grounds for the company to deny any obligation to protect your interests in the event a claim is made against you.
SEE A DOCTOR
If you are injured, seek medical attention immediately after the accident. Many serious injuries may seem trivial at first. Under New York State’s “No Fault” law, medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses, are covered regardless of fault up to $50,000.00, so don’t worry about the medical expenses for the emergency room treatment which may follow from an accident.
SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY
Contact an attorney as soon as possible. The Law Office of Emanuel N. Mouganis will provide you with a free consultation either in-person or over the phone. We will even come to your home or hospital bed if necessary. We will then evaluate your injuries and determine whether or not you have a case or cause of action to bring suit against the other parties involved.
The Mouganis Law Firm is a New York personal injury firm representing clients in Car/Motor Vehicle Accidents in the Greater Rochester Area of New York. Should you have any questions or require the services of an experienced personal injury attorney please contact us at (585) 301-2496. Rochester, New York Auto Accident Attorney.