Jun 16, 2021

The First Steps You Should Take After a Car Accident

The First Steps You Should Take After a Car Accident

Unfortunately, no matter how experienced a driver is, car accidents are bound to happen. Though emotions are often high immediately following an accident, it is important to remain calm and remember the steps you need to take not only for your health and safety, but for your future financial security, as well. If you plan to file an insurance claim, or a lawsuit for damages, make sure that you:

1)    Remain at the Scene: Even if you have somewhere to be, it is crucial that you remain at the scene following any significant accident. Be sure to check on everyone involved in the accident to assess injuries before you look at the damage to the vehicles. If someone needs immediate medical attention, tend to that to the best of your ability before taking the next step…

2)    Call the Police: The next step to take is to call the police. When the police have arrived, be sure to take down the name and badge numbers of all responding officers, and ask them to create a police accident report.

3)    Speak With the Other Driver(s): The most important thing to remember here is that you should remain collected, and do NOT apologize to the other driver or claim responsibility for the accident. It is often difficult to get clarity on the accident in its immediate aftermath, so you will want to avoid admitting responsibility. A kind and cordial approach is the best way to get the information you need from the other driver(s). From each involved driver, you will need their:

-       Name

-       Phone number

-       Address

-       Drivers’ license number

-       License plate number

-       Insurance information, including the name of the policy holder and policy number.

             Note: You should be prepared to share this information with the other driver(s), as well.

4) Take Photos of the Scene: Take clear, detailed photos of any damage to all vehicles before you leave the scene of the accident. The photos will document the property damage, and you will need to submit them to your insurance company so they can determine how much you should be compensated for damage to your car.

5) Call Your Insurance Company: It’s imperative that you report your accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. You should be prepared to share the facts involved with the accident, as well as any injuries to you, your passengers, and damage to your vehicle. The insurance company may also want to review the filed police report, to determine if any traffic laws were broken. The company will then complete a damage valuation on your vehicle. Know that it is within your rights to seek out an independent repair estimate from outside contractors if you are not happy with the insurance company’s valuation.

Additional Tip: If there are witnesses present at the time of your accident, try to speak with them to get their account of what happened. If they are willing to stay at the scene and speak to responding officers, that will help provide an unbiased opinion to go into the police report. If possible, take down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the witnesses, just in case you need it later.

If You Are Injured in the Accident:

If you suffer an injury from the accident, it is very important to keep detailed records of any medical appointments, consultations, and treatments that are necessary to assess and treat your injuries. Keep a file with your bills and medical reports from each provider you visit. It may be helpful to also keep track of days you had to be out of work as a result of the accident, as well as any other ways the injuries have affected your daily life following the accident.

Contact Lemire & Higgins, LLC

If the other driver(s) involved in your accident were at fault, even partially, New York law allows you to seek money compensation for your injuries and other damages, including lost income from work.  The experienced personal injury attorneys at Lemire & Higgins can guide you through the process and help you recover all available damages from the car accident.  The insurance company for the at-fault driver may contact you directly and offer a settlement but be careful and make sure that you are getting full compensation for all of your damages – past, present and future. 

If you have been involved in an accident, the experienced attorneys at Lemire & Higgins want to help you maximize your recovery.  Contact Lemire & Higgins at (518) 899-5700 or mail@lemirelawyers.com