What to Do Immediately After a Car Crash

  • After a car accident, put your car in park, check for injuries, and call 911 if you are injured.
  • It is illegal in New York to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance and contact information, and you must report the accident to law enforcement if anyone is injured.
  • You must file an accident report with the DMV within ten days of an accident resulting in injury or property damage of $1,000 or more.
  • Do not admit fault to the other party or make statements that could be considered an admission of fault.
  • Our experienced car accident lawyers in New York can handle your claim and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

During the immediate aftermath of a car accident, every word and action is crucial for both your physical health and insurance claim.

Immediate Steps To Take If You’re in an Accident

When you have been in a car accident, try to stay calm and do the following:

  1. Put your car in park and turn on your hazard lights.
  2. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Because some injuries take time to show symptoms, assume you are injured if the collision was high-impact.
  3. Call 911 if anyone is injured.
  4. If your damaged vehicle is inoperable in a traffic lane, move it to a shoulder or as far to the right edge of the road as possible.
  5. Offer assistance to others involved in the accident as needed until help arrives if you can do so safely.
  6. Take photographs and videos of the wreckage and the surrounding scene.
  7. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other parties in the accident.
  8. Ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.
  9. Cooperate with law enforcement.

What Not To Do After a Car Accident

The things you shouldn’t do are as important as the things you should do after an accident. For example, some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a wrong move could make a temporary injury permanent.

Further, insurance companies will look for every excuse to deny your claim or minimize your payout. After an accident:

  1. Don’t admit fault.
  2. Don’t apologize.
  3. Don’t discuss how the accident happened with the other driver or witnesses.
  4. Don’t leave the scene without exchanging insurance and contact information.
  5. Don’t make untruthful statements to law enforcement.
  6. Don’t volunteer information when talking to law enforcement.
  7. Don’t assume you are uninjured if your accident was severe.
  8. Don’t move until paramedics arrive if you suspect you are injured.
  9. Don’t attempt to move others who are injured unless necessary to avoid immediate danger.

Leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging information and reporting it to law enforcement could result in criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment. These are also known as hit-and-run accidents.

What To Do Shortly After Your Accident

The most important action you can take after a car accident is reaching out to an experienced New York car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You will also need to do the following:

  • If anyone is injured, file a New York State Collision Report (MV-104AN) with the DMV within ten days of the accident, even if the police responded and made a report.
  • Request a copy of the police report within 30 days of the accident.
  • Complete all prescribed medical treatment and don’t miss any appointments.
  • Contact your no-fault insurance company and report the accident.
  • Save copies of your medical bills and receipts.
  • Stay off of social media and avoid discussing your accident with anyone other than your attorney.
  • Refuse to talk to the other party’s insurance company without your attorney.

No Injury/Property Damage Only Accidents

If your accident causes property damage but no injuries, it is only necessary to call 911 if you are unable to move the vehicle out of traffic. However, it is still illegal to leave the scene without exchanging insurance information with the other parties involved. Give them the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • Your license number
  • Your insurance policy information

If you leave the scene without providing the required information, NY law states you could be fined $250 and be sentenced to 15 days in jail.

If you collide with a parked vehicle and cannot locate the owner, you must file a report with the nearest police station.

Police Reports & Insurance Claims

Again, you do not have to report a non-injury accident to the police. However, if the property damage amounts to more than $1,000, you must file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident form within 10 days of the collision—even if your vehicle is the one that sustained the damage. If you do not report the accident, the state could suspend your driver’s license.

Insurance companies will generally obtain a copy of your accident report while processing your claim.

What Is Considered Admitting Fault?

It is natural to want to reassure others after a traumatic accident, but saying the wrong thing can cost you significant compensation. If you apologize, admit to making mistakes, or make statements that suggest you weren’t paying attention, the other party’s insurance company could use your statements against you. Even the most innocent statements can hurt you. The table below outlines the kinds of statements you should avoid.

Apologizing for the Accident

I’m sorry.

I apologize.

I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

I hope I didn’t hurt you.

My bad.

I feel terrible.

Admitting Mistakes

I thought the light was still yellow.

My brakes don’t work.

I always get confused at that intersection.

It was my fault.

I couldn’t see because of the fog, rain, etc.

Suggesting You Were Distracted

I didn’t see you.

I didn’t see the stop sign.

I’m having a bad day.

I have a lot going on.

I wasn’t paying attention.

I was looking at something else.

Contact Chopra & Nocerino if You Have Questions About Filing a Car Accident Claim

We are real New Yorkers with over 20 years of combined experience and hundreds of millions of dollars secured in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Our New York personal injury lawyers know what to say and what not to say when dealing with insurers. We can guide you, file your personal injury claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Our compassionate and skilled injury lawyers are dedicated to serving injury victims throughout the five boroughs of New York. We charge no upfront fees, and you only pay if we win.

Call (855) NYC-HURT or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. Para servir mejor a todos los miembros de nuestra comunidad, ofrecemos servicios en español.

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