A Lawyer’s Guide to What to do After a Car Accident

You’re driving on the highway when suddenly someone cuts you off. You slam on your brakes, and the other driver doesn’t. There’s a collision, and then get out to inspect the damage. If this happens, do you know what to do next? If not, here’s a quick rundown of what to do after a car accident:

Call the police

The last thing one should consider when involved in a car accident is what to do next. But if a person has time to call the police while waiting for a tow truck to take the car to the shop, one must do so—not only will it make sure that everyone is protected in case of further damage, but it will also create a detailed record of what happened. Otherwise, it’s easy for details to be lost or for one side or the other to be accused of skipping out on their responsibility, and this can cause problems when filing any insurance claims for the accident. Contrary to popular belief, calling the police does not mean that anyone will be taken away in handcuffs; it simply means that an officer comes by to write down what happened. It’s also crucial that this call be made as soon as possible after the accident; things tend to get clouded with emotion, and the sooner someone has a chance to cool off and start thinking again, the better. If no one was hurt and both parties agree on what happened (as well as any witnesses who were there), this is generally just a formality.

Stay calm

Yes, it’s frustrating when someone else causes an accident and then drives away without leaving contact information or insurance information. But if they stop after the crash and exchange insurance information, that might be enough for both of you to file claims separately and handle the matter outside of court. No one wants an angry person filing a lawsuit against them for their carelessness!

Exchange information with the other driver

One should write down the other driver’s name, address, telephone number(s), driver’s license number, vehicle registration number, insurance company name, and policy number. Ask for this information from any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident. If possible, get their names along with their addresses and telephone numbers. If an insurance agent was present at the scene, provide that person’s name as well.

Take pictures of the scene of the accident

The other thing to do after a car accident is to take pictures of the scene. This will help revisit and recreate the accident later on needed to, especially if there’s a dispute about whether any damage was pre-existing or not. Once you have your phone in hand, snap away—but make sure it doesn’t distract from trying to get out of the situation safely. One doesn’t have to be a professional photographer; get as many shots to give yourself as much detail as possible.

Hire a lawyer

As with many other things, it’s usually best to hire an accident lawyer in New York City when involved in a car accident than to try to go it alone. The law is complicated and there are a lot of variables in play after an accident. They will be able to give one peace of mind that everything is being handled properly and that no important details are being overlooked. They will also be able to help make any necessary claims, such as medical expenses (including doctor bills and prescription costs) and property damage (such as repair costs).

Call your insurance company

If involved in a car accident, it’s a good idea to call the insurance company immediately. The reason is that the information one gives them will be used for several purposes. First, it will help them figure out how much damage was caused by accident and how much was pre-existing. If you tell them that the car had problems before the accident, this information could be used as evidence if there is a dispute about who caused the accident. Second, they’ll need the details of the accident so that the information can be entered into their claims database and analyzed along with everyone else’s claims over time. 

Finally, if there are any injuries, file a claim with your company so that they can start processing the medical bills and reimbursements. A person may have other questions after an accident, like whether or not to call the police or whether or not it’s safe to drive the car again. Safety issues are something someone should discuss with the insurance company.

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