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What to Do After a Car Accident?

Scared person after a car accident

Q. What Should I Do If I'm Involved In A Crash?

A. If you are involved in an auto accident you must stop your vehicle. If you don't stop and leave the scene of the accident, you may be subject to criminal prosecution. After stopping you should remain at the scene of the accident and call the police and exchange insurance information.

If someone is injured, call the ambulance. Once the police arrive at the scene, you and the other driver(s) will be interviewed. The police will ask how the accident occurred and will ask if anyone has been injured. Once you provide this information, ask the police officer how to get a copy of the police report and note the officer's name and police precinct where the officer is stationed. Most likely, the officer will give you a slip informing you how to get the police report. You will need to call the precinct for an accident report number.

Before leaving the scene, exchange information with the driver of the other car including the driver's name, address, phone number, driver's license number, insurance company, policyholder's name, and policy number of the other car. Please note that the driver of the other car may not necessarily be the owner of that vehicle, so it is best that you copy the information on the registration and insurance card given to you by the other driver. Also, take note of the passengers as well as any witness information.

Do not admit responsibility to anyone at the scene as it can be used against you at a later time. Initially, you may believe that you may be at fault for the accident, but there may be circumstances that may later be revealed, pointing to the responsibility of the other driver.

If you have a camera at the scene, take photographs of the accident location and the damage, if any, to each vehicle.

Q. Who Should I Contact After The Accident?

A. In many states such as New York, an incident report must be completed and filed by each driver involved in an accident with the Department of Motor Vehicles, if there were personal injuries and/or vehicle damage exceeding a certain monetary amount. Some states such as New York also provide that if you fail to report such an accident, it may result in a fine and/or suspension of your driver's license. In the state of New York, this document is called an MV104. You can obtain such a form at the police precinct as well as with your insurance company or attorney. When completing the report make sure to keep a copy for your records.

Additionally, obtain a copy of the police accident report. Typically, these police reports will be available to you within 48 to 72 hours after the accident. Most police precincts require a ten-dollar ($10.00) money order to obtain a police report. Provide this report as well as the MV104 (New York) to your insurance company.

If you have been injured, we recommend that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Additionally, call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Failure to do so may constitute grounds to deny coverage We recommend written notice be given to your insurance company by certified mail. The written notice should contain information concerning the date, place, time, name, and address of the other driver(s) in the accident, passengers and witnesses.

If you have been injured, you will need to file a no-fault claim if you live in a "no-fault" state such as New York. In the state of New York, a no-fault application must be completed and signed by an insured within 30 days of the accident. Failure to do is a ground to deny coverage for no-fault benefits.

The insurance company or attorney of the other driver involved in the accident may also attempt to contact you. Do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone other than your attorney or your insurance representative. Notify your insurance company and/or your attorney of the name, address, and telephone number of this representative who had attempted to contact you. You are under no obligation to cooperate with the other driver's insurance company, but do have a duty to cooperate with your own. Failure to cooperate with your own insurance company may also constitute grounds to deny coverage.

Q. Who Will Pay My Medical Bills?

A. New York has adopted the "no-fault" system of insurance. Generally, the insurance policy of the vehicle you are in will cover your related medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain limit. The New York minimum limit for no-fault coverage is $50,000. Please note that a qualified medical doctor must justify and verify your medical bills. Additionally, any claim for lost wage reimbursement under the no-fault requires verification of the time missed from work from your employer, as well as medical verification of a disability from your doctor. You may also qualify for state disability and private disability. Strict time limitations apply, so apply for any applicable benefits as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from the accident.

If you were injured while in the course of your employment, worker's compensation may apply. If this is the case, you will need to notify your employer and their workers' compensation carrier as soon as possible. If workers' compensation insurance covers the accident, your medical bills and lost wages may be paid by that insurance company provided that your injuries are related to the accident and verified by a doctor qualified by workers' compensation insurance.

Q. How Do I Know If I Have A Valid Case?

A. To find out whether you have a case, please contact Park & Nguyen toll free for a free telephone consultation at (718) 514-7886 or complete an online form. There are strict time limitations on when an action must be commenced, as well as time-sensitive deadlines to have the paperwork completed for any no-fault claims. Therefore, call as soon as possible.