Getting involved in a car accident on the roads of New York can be horrific, as the city is one of the most densely populated regions in America and is known for its jam-packed traffic. If you happen to crash your car in New York during peak traffic hours, you are likely to block traffic.
In such scenarios, it’s important to stay calm and follow some pertinent steps as per the New York car accident laws.
The Scene of the Accident
If you are involved in a car accident in New York, you should pull over right away and not make any attempts to flee. This is irrespective of the accident involving a moving car, pedestrian, a property, or a parked vehicle.
NY state law mandates drivers involved in a car accident stay at the site and exchange information with the other driver and also help the injured. Leaving the spot would be considered a hit-and-run case, which could lead to severe penalties. Based on the injuries or damage, you could be imprisoned, fined, or both. Also, you may lose your driving license.
Calling the Police
The next step is calling 911 or the police department as quickly as possible. If an individual is killed or injured, you should report the grave mishap immediately.
In case you bumped into a parked vehicle, or any other object such as traffic equipment, you should inform the concerned owner. Place a note on the vehicle with your contact details, insurance information, and license plate number and keep the police in the know.
A police officer would respond and prepare a report. This essentially means assessing damages and interacting with key witnesses to help ascertain the accident’s likely cause.
Information to Gather
As mentioned, be willing to share your information with the other driver. You must also collect some vital information about the other driver, including the drivers license number, name, vehicle identification number, car owner’s name and address, and insurance firm’s name and address along with the policy number. Ensure that the investigating personnel record all insurance details on the accident report.
Some other details you may gather are details of car passengers (if any), accident witnesses, and so on. Also, make note of the weather and traffic conditions. If you can, draw a basic diagram or sketch of the accident scene.
Car accidents could be due to different reasons, which includes driver negligence, poorly maintained roads, defective vehicle components, badly installed parts, and so on. Also, it is important not to take the responsibility for the accident if you’re not sure about the accident’s details.
You may do it out of the goodness of your heart, but that could hamper your chances of claiming compensation later. It’s best to first communicate with your auto accident lawyer and insurance provider. Also, you must not sign any documents, other than a traffic ticket, or pay for damages. Importantly, cooperate with the investigating officer.
Dealing with Insurance Firms
Report the car accident to your insurance firm as soon as possible. The crash should be reported within a month for claiming no-fault benefits. The insurance company would then investigate the matter.
Post investigation, the insurance firm would most likely try to arrive at a settlement agreement, which would invariably depend on property or personal injury claims. By the way, you aren’t required to lap up any settlement presented to you. If you are not content with what’s being offered, you can always deny it. And if an agreement cannot be reached, you could resort to other options, like initiating a lawsuit.