A car accident can be very traumatizing. I should know because I have been in many car accidents. Some of them have been fatal. When you have an accident it is unexpected. It catches you by surprise. What’s worse is that if the accident is at a high impact. It can leave you dazed and confused and you are in a state of shock. Your adrenaline is kicking in and you don’t know what to do. This is How to Handle a Car Accident In Brooklyn.
Whether an accident is your fault or not you must follow these protocols to protect yourself.
- Report the accident
- Go to the hospital
- Optional: call a personal injury attorney
A typical car accident can happen at any time of the day. After initial impact you will go through shock and have an increased adrenaline rush. This is typical. If you have family, friends, or even worse kids in the car your concern will be drawn to them. This is when common sense goes out the window and you cannot make the proper decisions necessary for your best interest.
Call 911 to Report the Car Accident
The first thing you should do is call 911. The other person may say “we don’t have to get the police involved”. This is a mistake. The reason they don’t want the accident reported is for their benefit. A few reasons may be:
- They have had prior accidents and don’t want their insurance to go up.
- They do not have insurance.
- They may be intoxicated and don’t want to risk a DUI.
Any of these reasons don’t matter to you. It is your best interest to report the accident. In fact, if the damage is more than $1001 then you must report the motor vehicle accident as per New York State Law. I once had a friend who let the other driver convince him to not report the incident. The person was from Florida and had Florida plates. My friend trusted the person. They quickly exchanged information. The guy swore he would pay for the damages. When my friend called the guy a few hours later he found out the telephone number was a fake number.
Now because my friend was trusting he was stuck with fixing his car with his own money. There are several problems here:
- The car has Florida plates. If he had New York plates you get the NYPD or an attorney to run the plates to find out where the car is registered.
- Because the accident was not reported and a police report was not made the other driver can deny that the accident ever occurred.
- If my friend or a passenger was injured there is no recourse to sue for any property or personal physical damage.
- The phone number was a fake so he had no way of contacting the driver.
There are several things you can do in this situation. First is to call 911 immediately after you access the damage and find out if you or someone else is hurt. When the police arrive, make sure that they completely understand what your side of the story is. I cannot tell you how many clients have complained to me that the police officer did not convey what the driver said. If there are witnesses at the scene make sure they give their statements to the police officers. The other driver may admit guilt as soon as the accident happens, but when the police arrive they tell them a completely different story. Clients complain to me all the time about this. I was once waiting in traffic when a van reversed and hit my car. The driver got out of his van and said to me “my bad”. This was an admission of guilt. There were several witnesses who saw what happened. When the police arrived we both gave our statements. Police officers always separate both parties so you can’t hear each other’s statement. When I received the police report the other driver said that I hit him from behind. I was livid. I should have known better. I should have made sure that the witnesses backed up my statement. According to the police report I was at fault. Without witnesses no one would believe my statement. I had to pay for the damages out of my own pockets.
Another thing my friend could have done was to make an MV-104 report. You have 24 hours after the accident to report the accident. Go to the nearest police precinct where the accident occurred and tell the officer that you want to file an MV-104. Call 311 and tell them the intersection where the accident occurred and they will tell you where the precinct covering that district is located. This is common to do as sometimes the police officers do not arrive at the scene when you call them. But you must do this within 24 hours of the accident.
The other thing my friend could have done was to call the phone number the driver gave him at that moment. This way if the phone number is false, you can stop them in their tracks and call the police right at that moment to report the incident.
Take Pictures of the Car Accident
Another thing that you must always do is take pictures at the scene of the car accident. If you are blocking traffic people will ask you to move your car. DO NOT do this. Take pictures of the 2 cars from different angles. Note any stop signs, traffic lights, ect… Wait for the police to arrive before you move your car. If you move the cars before the police arrive, then the accident may not be documented properly and you will find yourself in court. It may be your words against the other driver. The other driver will lie to get a favorable position. So don’t let that happen to you.
Go To the Hospital
When you are involved in an accident your body and mind are in shock. You may not feel the impact of the accident until you wake up the next morning. Make sure when the police office asks if anybody is hurt that you are sure that you are not hurt. The defendant’s insurance company will use this statement in the police report so make sure your answers are correct.
Go by ambulance to the hospital. If for some reason you cannot leave your car at the scene then go to the hospital on your own. Unless you have a fracture the emergency room doctor will trivialize your injuries. When you wake up the next day you feel stiff, and discover that you are more injured than you thought. At this time you should find a no fault doctor.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney
You may find yourself out of work due to the seriousness of your injuries. At this time you may want to seek an attorney to find out what your rights are. A personal injury attorney can help you figure out what your rights are. You can be reimbursed for lost time and work wages, property damage, or pain and suffering. The personal injury lawyer will work on a contingency basis. This means that you do not have to pay the lawyer out of your pocket. He will be paid only if he collects money from the insurance company. Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyers will give you a free consultation. Just call 646-457-6279 and we will be happy to help you.