Everyone always tells you to “drive safe.” In the busy streets of New York, however, some accidents are difficult to avoid.

After an accident, you might feel disoriented. The pain could even distract you from taking a few essential steps. Taking those steps, however, can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Three million people are injured every year after a car accident. Despite that number, many people don’t know what to do after a New York accident.

Here are the 10 steps you need to take following an accident. With these tips, you can respond with a clear head and react properly. Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re in a traffic jam.

1. Get out of Traffic

Before anything else, make sure to get out of traffic. Take a breath and turn your hazard lights on. Then, pull your car to the side of the road or the nearest safe space.

Make sure your car is safe to drive before moving it. Otherwise, leave it where it is.

Prioritize getting yourself to safety above all else.

If you’re unsure about whether or not it’s safe to move your car, wait for the police to arrive. Remember, you need to prioritize your safety. In the meantime, make sure to remain on the scene.

Leaving the scene could put you at risk. In fact, you’re in more legal danger if someone was killed or sustained injuries as a result of the accident. You could even face criminal penalties if it was a hit-and-run situation.

Instead of leaving, pull over, remain out of traffic, and wait for the police to arrive.

2. Assess Any Injuries

Was anyone hurt as a result of the accident? If necessary, call for medical attention as soon as possible.

In some cases, you might not realize you’ve sustained injuries until weeks after the accident. You might even have neck or back pain as a result of the crash. If anyone was injured, try not to move them right away.

Instead, let a qualified medical professional assess the situation.

In some cases, you might have to move someone to avoid a hazardous situation. If so, make sure to stabilize their neck or back first.

3. Call the Police

If you find yourself in a New York accident, make sure to call the police. A legal accident report is essential if you’re in a driving accident. You can use the report to cover your bases.

In some states, you’re required to report an accident. However, this law varies based on your location. In order to protect yourself, take the time to call the police.

When the police arrive, make sure they file an official police report.

Their report will include any property damages, physical injuries, or deaths. Once they’re done, make sure to obtain the officer’s name and badge number. Add these details to your own records.

You’ll need a copy of the police report if you intend on making a case following your New York traffic accident.

4. Limit Conversation

Don’t feel the need to make small talk while you wait for the police to arrive. Instead, limit conversation with the other drivers who were involved in the incident.

Make sure you don’t admit responsibility. That includes not apologizing for the accident.

It’s also important to avoid offering your opinion about what happened. Instead, remain cautious. You don’t have to speak about any injuries you’ve sustained, either.

Instead, respond by saying only a doctor can truly assess your health.

5. Take Notes

While you wait for the police to arrive, take the time to collect information. This should include the driver’s:

  • Name
  • Number
  • Address
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Insurance information

Next, make sure to get a description of the vehicle as well. That includes the make, model, and year. Don’t forget to take down the:

  • Date and time of the accident
  • Address of the accident
  • Road you were on
  • Nearest cross street
  • Direction you and the other car were traveling
  • Driving conditions
  • What happened

It’s easy to forget certain details after a driving accident. Taking notes can help you keep a record of everything. If there were witnesses, take the time to take down their contact information, too.

6. Take Photos

In order to maintain an accurate record, take as many photos as possible. Your insurance company will want photos if you intend on making a claim.

These photos can include:

  • How and where the cars are positioned
  • Where on the street the accident happened
  • Signs of any crossroads
  • Property damage
  • Injuries

If the other people involved in the accident want to take a photo of your driver’s license, remain cautious. It’s normal to need basic contact information. However, you won’t want to risk identity theft.

7. Contact Your Insurance Company

Next, call your insurance company and let them know you were in an accident. You should consider making this call while you’re still at the scene. Sometimes, an officer can give your insurance company more accurate information, too.

8. File a Claim

Your insurance agent will walk you through how to make a claim after your New York accident.

Some companies even have their own smartphone app. You can start the claims process while you’re at the scene using the app.

Collect all the facts. In the meantime, remember not to admit fault. Focus on collecting information.

9. Track Your Treatments

About 20 to 50 million people are injured or disabled after a car accident. If you sustain injuries, make sure to keep track of any appointments. Write down the contact information for your:

  • Doctors
  • Physical therapists
  • Chiropractors
  • Emergency room physicians

Keep a record of medications or treatments you receive, too.

10. Hire an Attorney

Finally, make sure to hire an experienced car accident attorney to help you navigate the situation. They can help you maximize your compensation.

Look for someone who is qualified and has a strong record. An attorney with a specialty in car accidents will benefit you the most. For example, Michele Mirman is a New York car accident lawyer who can help you through the process.

10 Tips for a Safe Response: What to Do After a New York Accident

If you were in a New York accident, take a breath. With these 10 tips, you can navigate the situation with a clear mind.

Searching for more tips? Explore the Auto section of the blog today.