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What should you do immediately after a car accident?

Car accidents demand your immediate attention. No one wants to be involved in a car accident. Once an accident happens, you must respond in a timely fashion. The way you respond after an accident can make a great difference in how any injuries suffered resolve, and in the outcome of any legal claim for damages that is made. There are a few things that should be done right after an accident which will be discussed below.


When an accident happens the first thing to do is stop. New York law requires the exchange of information with the other parties to the accident. For minor accidents which may be obstructing traffic, it may be best to pull to the closest shoulder or safe place if possible. After you stop, the police should be contacted.

Call the Police

You can dial 911 and tell the dispatcher that an accident has occurred along with the location. One should provide essential information to let the them know exactly where you are. The police should be called to document the accident. You should get the police report number from the officer.

Exchange of Information

The conversation should be kept to a minimum. You do not want to admit any liability. The two (or more) drivers should exchange information. You want to get the driver’s name, address and phone number. The insurance information obtained should include the name of the insurance company, policy holder, and policy number.  You want to get a description of the car, license plate number, and vehicle identification number.

Details of Accident

The impact of a car accident can be jarring. One must make sure that all of the details of the accidents are obtained. One should be careful to be as detailed as possible in either writing or recording the accident. After an accident, you want to make sure of:

  • The exact location of accident (main street and any cross streets)
  • The date and time of accident
  • The direction you were traveling
  • The direction the other car was traveling
  • Any notable features (stop sign, red light)
  • Weather visibility
  • Any obstruction such as work crews, constructions or barriers
  • The number of passengers in both cars
  • Write down or record on your phone what happened
  • Write down any witnesses’ names and contact information
  • The name, badge number and contact information for any police officer

Take Pictures

Pictures tell the story of the accident. If safe and possible, take photos of all vehicles involved, showing license plate(s), damage, points of impact, position in roadway, damage caused to property other than cars, and views that show the roadway for perspective.

 Many cars now have “dashcams”, i.e. video cameras mounted on dashboards. Pictures reveal the truth of the accident and when available, videos are decisive. Our firm has handled cases, for example, where a “question of lights” i.e., both parties claim the green light was in their favor and the other party was at-fault in passing through a steady-red traffic signal, where a dash cam video captured the truth of what happened.

Seek Medical Treatment

Medical treatment should be sought right after an accident.  The best option is to go to the emergency room of a hospital as soon as possible if there is any pain, disturbance of usual function or other symptom(s). Documentation of your injuries are needed for the insurance adjuster.   You want to keep track of your medical treatment, medical expenses, time loss from work and how the accident has impacted your daily life. The value of your claim is dependent, in large part, upon the timeless of your medical needs and any special circumstances.

Reasons to Hire an Attorney

The number one reason to hire an attorney is to get the best possible money recovery, whether by negotiated settlement or, depending upon the unique circumstances of your case, a litigation that may lead to a trial before a judge and jury. Our attorneys are dedicated to achieving the maxim recovery. Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, and there are no out of pocket fees. This means our attorneys will not get paid unless and until there is a settlement or you are awarded damages.  Our attorneys are experienced, compassionate and dedicated to obtaining the best possible result for you.   Please give us a call today for a no-obligation case review and free consultation: 516-932-0400.

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