Even a relatively minor auto accident can be nerve-wracking. When a collision leads to injury or death, the confusion and chaos of the aftermath often leave those involved feeling deeply shaken and disoriented. Even if you consider yourself a safe driver, it is a good idea to prepare yourself for the worst by knowing what to do after an accident before it happens.
Your priority should be your own safety and the safety of others present, but if you are able, it is a good idea to gather as much information as possible at the scene of the accident. Doing so helps to improve the likelihood of recovering costs for injuries or property damage from your insurance company. Full documentation may also become crucial if you decide to file an injury claim against another driver, or if another driver files a claim against you.
Under New York law, drivers involved in a collision must stop and exchange information, regardless of the severity of the accident. Make sure to get the other driver’s name, address and license plate number, as well as insurance and vehicle registration information, including the year and make. In New York, drivers may provide proof of insurance in either paper or electronic format. You should also be sure to get the names and contact information of any passengers or other drivers involved.
Document the incident
If possible, make sure to take photographs or videos of your injuries, the scene of the accident and any property damage. If there are witnesses present, you should try to get their names, addresses and telephone numbers as well, because they may be able to give important testimony in a potential lawsuit. Finally, get the badge number and name of any police officers at the scene, and make sure to get a copy of the official police report when it becomes available.