Getting into even a minor car accident can be a frightening and nerve-wracking experience. In an instant, a level-headed individual can be overwhelmed by adrenaline, making them unsure what to do next. Most people don’t realize the actions they take in the aftermath of a car accident can impact their insurance claim down the road.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., our experienced New York attorneys have more than 35 years of experience helping accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. Our compassionate team knows how to handle fender bender claims. We’ve compiled our extensive knowledge and created this guide designed to help you know what to do if you are involved in a New York fender bender.
After a Fender Bender
These actions will help you ensure you’re doing the right thing. At the same time, they can help protect your insurance claim when you file one.
Contact the Authorities
If you are involved in a fender bender, you may be encouraged by the other driver to exchange information and move on with your day. This course of action is seldom in your best interest. It is always wise to contact the authorities, report the crash, and request a copy of the subsequent police report.
A police report can help strengthen your claim when it comes time to seek compensation from an insurer. Additionally, the authorities can help render aid to the injured and control the scene, helping to prevent rubbernecking drivers from causing another crash.
While you wait for law enforcement to arrive, take the time to exchange information with the other driver. You should gather the driver’s name, insurance information, and phone number.
When talking to the other driver, remain calm and polite. Do not talk about the details of the crash, assign blame, or apologize for the collision. Your words could potentially damage your claim.
Collect Witness Information
If you see other people at the scene, ask for their contact information and a brief statement about what they saw. Witness statements can help you build a compelling case for compensation.
Document the Crash
A picture is often worth a thousand words. Collect as much evidence at the scene as possible. Take photos of the damage to both vehicles, the license plates of all cars involved, and damage to any surrounding objects. Notice skid marks on the ground? Take a picture. Documenting the scene as thoroughly as possible is vital. Try to capture the scene from different angles. If possible, take photographs of your injuries as well.
While the crash is still fresh in your mind, try to jot down notes about what occurred immediately before the collision and how the accident happened. Keep your notes factual and stick to the who, what, where, when, and why. Never make assumptions.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Fender benders may seem like minor accidents, but they can still cause significant injuries. Always seek medical attention as soon as possible. Injuries like whiplash and concussion can take hours or even days to manifest. The adrenaline coursing through your body can also mask pain and other symptoms.
Without medical documentation, it can be nearly impossible to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. An insurer can claim that because you did not seek medical help, you did not suffer an injury, or your injury was not a direct result of the crash. Protect yourself and your health. Speak to a medical professional immediately after a fender bender.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Regardless of who is at fault, you must contact your insurance company and report the accident. If the other driver or their insurance provider seeks information from your company, they may be at a disadvantage if they are unaware an accident took place.
Now might also be a great time to talk to an attorney. An attorney can help manage communication between you and all other parties involved.
Report the Accident to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles
In New York, any accident that causes more than $1,000 in property damage or results in an injury or death must be reported to DMV. The accident report needs to be submitted within ten days. Failing to report a crash can result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
Hurt in a fender bender? Follow your doctor’s instructions, and track your treatment progress with a pain journal. You must keep follow-up appointments, take medication as prescribed, and follow through with physical therapy if necessary. Again, medical documentation may be crucial to your claim.
Stay Off Social Media
Now is the best time to go on a social media diet. Stay off social media platforms. If an attorney or insurer finds any post you write, even if it just shows you out with friends or tells your friends you feel better, it could jeopardize your claim. Avoid using social media until your claim is resolved.
Ask an Attorney for Help
Navigating a fender bender claim is not always easy. To recover the compensation you deserve, you need an attorney’s help. An experienced New York car accident attorney can protect your rights and collect evidence to help strengthen your claim. An attorney can also manage communication between you and the insurer, leaving you more time to focus on your recovery.
There is a fallacy that all fender benders are minor. However, even minor collisions can cause extensive physical damage to you and your vehicle. An insurance company looking to quickly close your claim may not offer you the money you need to cover all your accident-related expenses and move forward with your life. Discussing your situation with an attorney is the best way to ensure you know what your claim is worth.
Contact a Skilled New York Car Accident Attorney Today
Did a careless driver injure you in a fender bender? It is time to speak with an experienced New York car accident attorney about your claim. At Finz & Finz, P.C., our legal team is ready to help you navigate the claim process and seek maximum compensation for your financial losses. Seeking full compensation is our commitment to you.
For a free, no-obligation case review, contact our office today at 855-TOP-FIRM.