Motor Vehicle Accidents | Car & Truck Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are scary, and most people are in pain and quite shaken up afterwards. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, whether you are a driver, passenger, pedestrian or bicyclist, the following information may be very helpful.
At the Scene of the Accident
- First of all, call 911 and report the accident. Ask for the police and an ambulance.
- Second, do not move the cars after an accident. Leave the cars where they are unless directed to move them by the police, ambulance personnel, the fire department, or other authority figure.
- Third, take pictures of the general scene, including any traffic control devises. Take pictures of all cars involved, including the license plates. If you are injured at the scene, take pictures of your injuries too, if you are able to do so safely.
- Fourth, DO NOT speak with anyone from the other vehicles involved, except to exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and license and insurance information. Do not discuss how the accident happened or anything about possible injuries, unless the injuries are immediately life threatening. Wait at the scene for the police to arrive.
If you are feeling any pain at the scene in any part of your body, tell the police and the ambulance personnel. Go to the hospital to get examined. However, do not be surprised if you do not feel any pain from the accident until later that night, or even up to a few days later. It is quite common to feel the pain only hours or even days after an accident. If you do feel pain hours or days after the accident, go to the hospital or doctor to get examined and tell them what happened that caused the pain.
While still at the scene, get the names and information of any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Give the police this information. You must report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident.
Reporting & Insurance
- You must report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident. If you haven’t done so at the scene, contact the closest police precinct.
- Report the accident within 24 hours to your insurance carrier. Make sure to get the name and direct phone number of the person you reported this to, and ask for the claim number. Your own automobile insurance carrier, under most circumstances, is responsible for paying for medical treatment for you or a passenger, up to $50,000. This is true regardless of whose fault the accident is. This is known as the “no-fault” insurance law. However, you must make a claim for these no-fault benefits within 30 days of the accident. Generally, your medical provider or a personal injury attorney will help you with the no-fault benefits paper work, but do not hesitate to file the claim. Thirty days passes quickly.
Pedestrians & Bicyclists
If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist and a motor vehicle strikes you, the same guidelines above apply. Take pictures of the scene, the bicycle and the offending vehicle, including the license plate. Stay where you are and let the police or ambulance assist you. Make sure there is a police report, and make sure you report the accident to your own automobile insurance, if any.
Whether you are in a motor vehicle, or a pedestrian or a bicyclist, if the other vehicle involved in the accident flees the scene, or is uninsured, you still have rights. You must report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident, either at the scene or at the closest police precinct.
New York State Requirements
If you own a motor vehicle, the State of New York requires minimum bodily injury insurance coverage of $25,000 per person, and $50,000 per accident. However, the more coverage you have, the higher your protection if you are in an accident. Speak with your insurance carrier about the various coverage options and the cost difference between the minimum $25,000/$50,000 coverage and higher coverage amounts. If you own your own house or apartment, you should also consider an umbrella policy. Again, it is for your own protection.
REMEMBER – ALWAYS wear a seatbelt. Seatbelts save lives.