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Dos and don’ts for New York drivers involved in a car accident

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Panic, fear, pain confusion and anxiety are just a few of the strong emotions and responses that an individual is likely to experience in the immediate wake of a car accident. When experiencing these types of strong feelings and emotions, an individual may take actions or commit mistakes that can end up hurting one’s chances of recovering compensation. It’s important, therefore, to understand what to do and not do after a car accident.

The most important thing to do after a car accident is to ensure that no one involved is seriously injured. Once all drivers and passengers are accounted for, it’s important to call the police and remain at the accident scene. While awaiting the arrival of the police, it’s a good idea to exchange insurance and contact information with any other drivers involved in the accident and to also survey the scene for any possible eye-witnesses.

When interacting with other drivers, passengers or eye-witnesses; it’s important not to say or do anything that may implicate one as being at fault in an accident. It’s also wise not to engage another driver in any discussion about how the accident transpired. Once the police arrive, an officer will survey the accident scene and interview all drivers and any eye-witnesses in an attempt to figure out what factors may have contributed to the accident.

Once an individual is free to leave the scene, it’s wise to seek medical treatment for any noticeable injuries and also for any injuries that are not readily apparent. It’s important to keep records of any and all injuries as well as related treatments and expenses. A driver should then also contact his or her insurance company to report the accident and file a claim.

When reporting an accident and answering any follow-up questions posed by a claims agent, it’s important to be honest and forthright about any and all details. For example, failing to tell an agent that you were talking on the phone when the accident occurred could prove to be a problem if cellphone records are subsequently subpoenaed.

Depending on the circumstances and injuries involved in an accident, it may be wise to consult with an attorney. A personal injury claim can aid injured drivers and passengers in recovering damages related to medical expenses, disability and lost wages.

Source: FindLaw.com, “After a Car Accident: First Steps,” April 2, 2015

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.