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What to Do after a Car Accident (Checklist): 11 Steps to Review Ahead of Time for Maximum Recovery

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

what to do after a car accident checklist

At some point in your life, unfortunately, it is inevitable that you will most likely be a victim of an automobile accident in which you will sustain some sort of bodily injury and have to seek medical attention. Moreover, this accident will not be your fault. If this happens, the insurance company may contact you and you may be in a position to seek compensation for your injuries. Now, whether you decide to pursue a claim or not is up to you.

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However, whether you do or not, it is imperative that you understand that you at least have the option to do so, and moreover, that you set yourself in the best position possible should you decide to do so. In this article, we shall be addressing the following steps and issues:

  • Before The Accident: Be Prepared
  • Step #1 – Don’t Panic After A Car Accident
  • Step #2 – Pain After Car Accident Or Check Yourself For Potential Injuries
  • Step #3 – Check On Potential Injured Passengers In Auto Accident
  • Step # 4 – Immediately Call A Car Accident Lawyer NYC
  • Step #5 – Taking Pictures After A Car Accident
  • Step #6 – Move To Safety When You Get Into A Car Accident
  • Step #7 – Write Down Your Version Of The Car Accident
  • Step #8 – Should I Call The Police After The Car Accident Or Other Emergency Services
  • Step #9 – Don’t Admit Fault In The Accident
  • Step #10 – Exchanging Insurance Details After An Accident
  • Step #11 – Limit Conversation With The Other Party
  • Bonus – Should You Call Your Insurance Company After An Accident?
  • FAQ
  • What Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Do To Help?

Before the Accident: Be Prepared

Although one will never know exactly when a car accident will occur, it is always a good idea to make sure you have the following items in your vehicle at all times:

  1. your insurance card;
  2. driver’s license; and
  3. registration of your vehicle.

It also a good idea to also make sure you have a medical first aid kit in your vehicle too, just in case you need to provide yourself basic first aid.

Step #1 – Don’t Panic After a Car Accident

What should I do after a car accident? After a car accident, the worst thing you can do is panic. If you are in panic mode, not only may you jeopardize your own physical safety, but you also may jeopardize or undermine any potential liability you have against the person who caused the accident. Accordingly, you’ll want to remain calm and collective and gather your wits. The more calm you care, the better you’ll be able to gather information, communicate, and perform the following steps.

Step #2 – Pain After Car Accident or Check Yourself for Potential Injuries

After your car accident trauma, you’ll want to check yourself for any pain after the car accident or to see if you’ve experienced any trauma. Sometimes, a person may sustain a car collision and be in such shock that they may not experience pain immediately or notice that they are injured, bruised, or cut. Accordingly, you’ll want to check your entire body for any indication of injury.

Also, just because you don’t see any marks or bruises or feel any pain does not necessarily mean that you haven’t injured yourself. Your pain may generate endorphins to mask the pain and you may not experience any pain or have any indication that you’ve injured yourself until after the accident.

Step #3 – Check on Injured Passengers in Auto Accident

Once you’ve secured yourself and assuming you are able, you’ll then want to check on any passenger in the auto accident. You’ll want to verify on the safety and health status of any passenger hurt in the car accident and to see if there was in fact any injured passenger in the auto accident. If there is a passenger in the car accident that was injured, you’ll want to provide first aid, if you have a first aid box, and try to comfort their symptoms as best as possible until help arrives.

Step # 4 – Immediately Call a Car Accident Lawyer NYC

As soon you’ve checked on yourself and your passengers for injuries, as soon as you are in a safe position, you should contact a New York car accident lawyer, even if it’s at the scene of the accident. Every car accident is different, and a car accident injury lawyer can advise you of what to do while you’re at the scene, what information or evidence to gather, and what to say or not say.

If you are in NYC, an experienced NYC car accident lawyer or car accident lawyer NYC may be familiar enough with the roads and intersections to understand the traffic, buildings, roads, and environment that may have contributed to the accident. Accordingly, you should find a car accident lawyer right away so they can best advise you right then and there. Obviously, you don’t have to hire a lawyer right then and there, but talking with an experienced lawyer will help you with your case, should you decide to proceed, and may help you get a better outcome.

Step #5 – Taking Pictures After a Car Accident

A key step in helping prove your case is to take pictures, as many as you can, of the scene of the accident. You’ll want to take pictures of your vehicle, of the vehicle that caused the accident, of any skid marks on the road, of any intersection, of the weather conditions at the time, of any scars or injuries on your body, of any damage both inside and outside your vehicle, of any damage to any personal effects, etc. If you are able, you should record a video of the scene of the accident so that the viewer can get a better idea of how the accident occurred and the aftermath. Also, if possible, you’ll want to take these pictures and record the video before any vehicles are moved. Doing so most accurately reflects how the accident occurred. Obviously, if you have to move your vehicle to remain safe, do so, but if at all possible, you’ll want to take any pictures and video prior to any movement of the vehicles.

got into a car accident

You may be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute? Is it illegal to take a picture of an accident?” Absolutely not. As long as you are not invading anybody’s privacy or causing a disturbance, documenting the accident with video and/or pictures is acceptable. Although the police may appear at the scene and there may be police accident photos, you cannot rely on the police to produce sufficient photos or clearly show the damage that occurred. You need to be your investigator and advocate. Not only are photos and evidence gathering important for any bodily injury claim that you may or may not have, but you’re going to need such evidence even if you’re just wanting the insurance company to pay for your property damage to your vehicle.

Step #6 – Move to Safety When You Get Into a Car Accident

Once you’ve documented the scene of the accident with your phone, if you haven’t already, make sure to remain calm and move your car, if you need to. The police will also probably want to take pictures and at least make note of the position of the vehicles and their relation to the accident scene, so don’t move your vehicle unless you have to. Generally, moving your vehicle to she shoulder of the road or to a parking lot are safe areas. If any other vehicles are moved, besides yours, you’ll also want to make note of both the drivers involved and the vehicles involved and their relation to the auto accident and where each vehicle was positioned prior to it moving. Every state has its own laws and what the law requires may vary from state to state.

Step #7 – Write Down Your Version of the Car Accident

The next step is that as soon as possible, it is a good idea to write down your version of events and what happened at the car accident. Since the accident would have just occurred, writing down what happened both before, during, and immediately after the accident will help you accurately document what transpired and help prove liability. Since the events will be fresh in your brain, you’ll be able to better recall and recollect what happened. Your version of events is crucial to establishing liability, including such details as accurate times, locations, who was involved in the accident, witness names, reactions, contact information of any witnesses, the vehicles involved, police officer names and badge numbers, plate number, auto insurance information, and if anybody leaves the scene and a description of them and their contact information. Again, a police report, even a good one, does not guarantee that it will contain all of the information you’ll need to help you with your case down the road. The more information you are able to record, the better off you’ll be down the road should you decide to pursue a claim.

Step #8 – Should I Call Police or Other Emergency Services After a Car Accident

Do I need to call the police after an accident? Yes, this is highly recommended. Doing so not only helps document the accident, but it also can help establish liability should the police officer ticket the driver who caused the accident. If that occurs and the officer tickets the other driver, you can use that ticket as evidence that the other party was at fault. Even if you don’t have car insurance and you are afraid that you yourself will be ticketed, as long as the ticket is not related to a moving violation, then proving liability will be better in your favor. At the scene of the accident, you should call 911 and report the accident. The police officers will arrive and will draft a police report.

“If I have a minor accident, how do I report the minor accident to police?” You do so the same as you would if the accident was big. Even if the accident is minor and you don’t have a lot injury to yourself, you should contact the police. Again, an injury may not readily appear or be noticeable right away. Symptoms may not appear until later, after the accident.

Step #9 – Don’t Admit Fault in the Accident

Admitting fault in a car accident will not only decrease the chances that the insurance company will accept the claim, but consequently it will also decrease the chances of being able to claim any money damages in a non fault car accident, even if it’s just trying to fix or repair your vehicle.

You may be saying, “Oh No. It’s too late for me. I admitted fault in an accident and already told the officer it was my fault.” Well, that doesn’t mean you’re completely barred from recovery.

New York is a pure comparative negligence state. A claimant’s negligence, no matter how great, will not bar recovery, but the damages recoverable will be reduced in proportion to their negligence. Accordingly, if you admit you were 100% at fault, you will get nothing. If you admit you were 20% at fault, then any recovery will be reduced to 20%.

As such, when you are at fault in a car accident, don’t admit fault in the accident. Even if you are at fault, let the insurance company or police officer determine that. That’s their job and the insurance company’s responsibility to determine during their investigation. It’s not your responsibility to admit fault, so don’t do it.

Step #10 – Exchanging Insurance Details After an Accident

Exchanging insurance details after an accident is a necessary step in being able to successfully set yourself up for recovery and make a claim. Just because you may have the other driver’s contact information does not necessarily mean that they will voluntarily disclose this accident to their insurance company. You’ll need the other person’s information because exchanging insurance information is the best way to give yourself more control and power over being able to pursue a claim. What information do you need in a car accident? What info to exchange in a car accident? What to exchange in an accident? What information to exchange in a car accident? Knowing what information to collect in a car accident, and how to exchange insurance information after an accident is important. In addition to the driver’s name and address, you’ll want their phone number, auto insurance carrier, address, and phone number, policy number, and if possible, the driver’s employment information too. You can exchange this information by providing it yourself.

car accident procedure

Likewise, if the other driver asks you for your information, what information should you exchange in the car accident? You should supply the same information. However, if you are at fault in the accident, rather than provide that information yourself, you could just say that your attorney will supply that information. Doing this will allow your attorney to be able to phrase and provide that information in a safer manner, so that you aren’t admitting liability.

Step #11 – Limit Conversation With the Other Party

Since the at-fault driver’s insurance company will want to limit the amount of money they have to pay you, the party’s insurance company will want to take a recorded statement from you. Don’t do it. Any statement taken after the car accident can be used against you in your accident claim and may undermine the chances of claiming a good outcome. Accordingly, it is always best to have a personal injury lawyer speak on your behalf. This includes, but is not limited to, addressing what happened, who’s at fault, and what information should or should not be revealed. Consulting a personal injury lawyer and asking their opinion in regards to legal advice concerning car insurance, medical records, terms and conditions of the insurance policy, the reputation of the other party’s insurance company, and how and if workers compensation may affect your claim, will have a have a direct affect on your personal injury case. Rather than speak and provide potential damaging statements, let your personal injury lawyer speak on your behalf.

Bonus Step –Should You Call First Your Insurance After an Accident?

Do I need to contact my insurance after an accident? Should you call your insurance after an accident? No, before you call insurance company after car accident, you should talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Any information you provide, whether it’s to the other driver’s insurance or your own insurance, can be used against you if you’re not careful.

A lawyer will be able to provide your information and present it in the best way possible for your case. When should I call my insurance company after an accident? Again, you should contact your insurance company after you’ve spoken with an attorney and have been given legal advice on how to contact the insurance company after the accident.

Personal Injury L


What to do after a minor car accident?

After you’ve checked yourself for injuries, you’ll want to document everything with your phone. You’ll want to take pictures of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, or any skid marks on the road. You’ll also want to get witnesses statements, including their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Even if it’s a minor car accident, you’ll want to document everything as best you can.

What to do after a car accident that is not your fault?

In addition to securing evidence and documenting the accident, you’ll want to contact the police so that the police can provide a ticket to the at-fault driver. If the other driver is ticketed for a violation, this will help better establish liability and make it easier to prove your case.

What to do after a car accident that is your fault?

Even if you are at fault, don’t admit to the insurance company, police, the other driver, or even your own passengers that were at fault. This will harm your case if you do so. Again, New York is a comparative negligence state, so even if were only partially at fault, you can still claim damages. Furthermore, it is not your job to admit fault. Let your lawyer do the talking for you.

What details need to be exchanged in a car accident?

You should exchange contact information and insurance company information, including insurance carrier name, address, phone number, and policy number.

What should you do after a car accident injury?

You’ll want to inspect yourself for injuries, gather information and exhibits, write down what happened, and call an experienced personal injury car accident lawyer.

What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do To Help?

When it comes to dealing with motor vehicle accidents, a personal injury attorney or law firm is crucial. They will provide you with the advice on how best to handle your injury so that you are able to maximize your recovery. The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes has the experience and knowledge to provide this for you.

We are in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York.

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