June 28, 2020

How to Handle a Car Accident While in Traffic

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

Being in a car accident is scary, especially if it happens on the traffic clogged roads of New York City! With hundreds of thousands of accidents occurring in the city annually, you may find yourself in that awful predicament at some point. How you handle a car accident while in traffic is important to your safety and to any potential legal claim you may need to make later.

The New York Car Accident Lawyers at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. know that a vehicle crash can turn your world upside down. Our award-winning personal injury attorneys hope you never find yourself in one. But if you do, follow the tips below, including determining if you need a lawyer. We’ve helped our clients receive the compensation they deserve after auto accidents. Call us at (212) 490-5700 to schedule a risk-free no cost appointment.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Traffic

  1. Take a Breath.

    When you’ve been in an accident and are not knocked unconscious, the shock and adrenaline may combine to make you want to leap from the car, perhaps in anger, and certainly upset. Don’t do that unless you have reason to believe there is more danger from staying inside just a few minutes more.

    While still in the car, breathe deeply, and do a quick inventory of your body to determine if you have injuries – and if so, how severe. Immediately jumping out could aggravate injuries, put you in danger of being hit by other motorists, or lead you to saying something that could undermine your legal claim.

  2. Get Moving.

    Once you feel you can, move the vehicles involved to the side of the road. Unfortunately, in NYC traffic that may not be possible. In that case, leave the cars where they are and put on emergency flashers.

    Make sure the car is in park, use the safety brake as well, turn off the engine and get out if you’ve determined it is safe to do so. If you have road flares, use them.

    During this time, check on others involved to assess any injuries. An ambulance should be called if anyone is experience dizziness, shortness of breath, or extreme pain. Stick to just talking about injuries, nothing about the accident such as how it happened, what you were doing, or who might be at fault.

  3. Call the Police.

    Even if you think the accident is minor, it is best to involve the police, who can generate an accident report. The report is a very helpful tool later in the process when there may be a need to pursue damages.

    If the police can’t come, be sure to get all the details you need for an insurance claim and to file a report through the department of motor vehicles. See Number 4 for what information is important.

  4. Get the Details.

    Write down as much information as you can right after the accident. Make sure you get the following:

    • Driver, passenger, and witness names and contact information
    • Makes, models, and license plate numbers of cars involved
    • Insurance information of the other driver(s)
    • Location of the accident
    • The name and badge number of any responding police officers

    You may think it isn’t necessary if police are there to do a report. The problem is sometimes they make mistakes or don’t do a complete job.

  5. Tech Time.

    Don’t forget one of the best tools you may likely have after an accident in traffic is your smartphone. You can use it to take pictures of injuries and property damage. You may consider a quick video as well to note the scene and weather conditions. In fact, much of the information you need, as detailed above, maybe easily obtained using your phone.

  6. Seek Medical Care.

    Even if you refused care at the scene, it is important to get checked out by a doctor after an accident. You may have injuries that don’t present for a few days. It is imperative that you see a medical professional and make sure you say you were in a car accident.

    Follow the doctor’s advice and seek additional treatment if you develop more symptoms or increased pain.

    Keep records of expenses related to your medical care.

  7. File an Insurance Claim.

    After you are safely home, call your insurance company to report the accident. If you are called by the other party’s insurance adjuster, be cooperative but do not make statements against your interests, such as downplaying any injuries or the property damage. Do not accept fault.

  8. Call a Lawyer.

    No one wants to make a matter into a legal one, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Our attorneys stand up for you against the insurance company, which only wants a quick, cheap settlement. We can assess what happened, who might be at fault, and how much you are owed for your damages. Did you know that those at fault could be more than just the driver? It’s true! The accident might have been caused by a poor car repair, or a manufacturing defect, a third party, such as a pedestrian, or perhaps a delivery driver in the course of his employment. If so, additional parties may be legally liable for your injuries. That’s why it’s so important to consult an attorney after a car accident.

Our personal injury attorneys have won millions of dollars for clients hurt in car accidents. Consultations are free. Call us at (212) 490-5700 to discuss how we can help.