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What should I do after a New York car accident?

Every year, many New Yorkers are involved in car accidents. Unfortunately, not all of them know what to do in such a stressful situation. If you are involved in a car accident, you may experience fear, anxiety and physical and emotional pain. However, with the right preparation, you will be ready to take on anything if you ever find yourself in an accident.

One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to stay at the scene until it is appropriate to leave. Many drivers involved in accidents leave the scene too quickly, and later face serious hit-and-run charges.

After checking on all drivers and passengers, immediately seek medical attention for anyone who needs it. To prevent further injury, avoid moving those who are unconscious or suffering from back pain. Once you have sought medical attention, you will need to contact the police, especially if there is significant property damage, injury or death. Ask the officers to file a police report and keep track of all the officers on the scene.

One of the most critical steps is to exchange information with other drivers that were involved in the crash. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, drivers' license numbers and insurance information. It is also important to not admit guilt at the scene of the accident. You may think you are at fault, but it is not always obvious as to who is at fault at the time of the accident. Let the investigators handle liability issues. It may also be a good idea to talk to witnesses at the scene and collect their contact information.

Lastly, contact your insurance company and collect as much information as you can about the accident. Take pictures of any damage to your vehicle and get a property damage valuation. Keep careful records when it comes to any medical treatment you receive as a result of the accident. You may want to hire an attorney to help with the next steps. Avoid discussing the accident with anyone other than your insurance company, police and your attorney if you have one. By following these steps, you will be more aware of how to handle an accident.

Source: FindLaw.com, "After a Car Accident: First Steps," accessed on Sept. 30, 2014

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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