Accident Scene Questions
What to do After a Car Accident
If I’m in an accident, should I stop?
Yes! You must stop. Regardless of whether the accident involves a pedestrian, a parked car, someone’s property, or a moving vehicle, you are required by law to stop. If you leave the scene of an accident, you can be charged with “hit and run” even if the accident is not your fault. If you hit a parked car, you are required to attempt to find the driver. If you cannot, the law states you may drive away only after you leave behind your name, address and an explanation of the accident. After, you must notify the police either by telephone or in person.
How can I get help?
As soon as you can get to a telephone, call 911. Explain the situation and advise them of your location. Be sure to mention if you need an ambulance or a fire engine. If you do not have a cell phone, try to flag down a passing vehicle, and ask them to get help. If you are in a dark location, such as a country road, and cannot get through on a cell phone, it is recommended, to drive to the nearest safe location (i.e., a gas station, a house with their lights on, etc.) and call the police.
What do I do if I’m in a fender bender?
Even minor car accidents can result in injuries, and your health should always be the top priority. Even if it’s just a small ache or pain, get it checked out by a medical professional. As with all car accidents, you should also report your fender bender to area law enforcement. A New York car accident attorney warns motorists to NEVER admit fault. Even if you believe you acted negligently, you don’t know all of the facts right away. The other driver may have experienced a malfunction, or they may have been drinking. If you have any questions about your accident, contact Cellino & Barnes. An experienced car accident lawyer can help guide you, and protect your rights at the same time.
At the accident scene, what information should I ask for and when should I ask for it?
Obtain as much of the following information as possible and write down:
- The other driver’s name, address, date of birth, and telephone number.
- Their driver’s license number and expiration date.
- Their insurance company.
- The other car’s make, year, model, license plate number and expiration date, and vehicle identification number (“VIN”).
- If the driver is not the owner, you will need to get the owner’s name, address, telephone number and insurance company.
- The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any passengers in the other car.
- The name, address, and telephone number of any witnesses to the accident. If they are unwilling to stay, ask them what they saw and write it down.
- If there was someone at the scene that will not give you his or her name, just write down his or her license plate number. The police officer can trace the owner’s name and address.
- Make a simple diagram of the accident. Please note if there were any skid marks on the road.
- If you have a camera with you, take pictures of the scene. The camera on your cell phone will do.
- Take notes on the road and weather conditions. If the accident happened after dark, were the streetlights on?
- Estimate how fast you were going, as well as the other driver. Be sure to note the exact time and place the accident happened.
What do you do after a minor car accident?
The severity of an accident doesn’t change what should do. You should still follow the steps above. In some cases, local authorities may choose not to respond to a minor accident, in which case they can advise you of the next steps.
What to do if the accident was my fault?
Be sure to cooperate with the police officer investigating the case, but stick to the facts. Also, we recommend you pay attention to any statements made by the other driver and write it down. Many times, even if you think you are responsible for an accident, it may be learned later that the other driver may also be at fault.
What details need to be exchanged in a car accident?
After any auto accident, it’s important to collect as much information as you can about the other driver and the circumstances around the accident. This information includes:
- Driver’s name, license number, address and phone number
- Name of the person or company that owns the vehicle(s) involved
- Insurance provider for the vehicle(s) involved
- Statements, names and contact information of any witnesses
- License plate numbers of all vehicles involved
- Accident scene photos – including photographs of any injuries sustained during the crash
If you’re still not sure what to do, you can always contact an experienced car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes. We can help any questions you may have at any time – day or night.
What if I get a ticket?
Sign it. When you sign a ticket, it is nothing more than your promise to appear in court. If you do not sign the ticket, the police officer can arrest you. While it is okay to sign the ticket, you should talk with a New York attorney before you pay a fine or plead guilty to the charges.
Do I have to report an accident?
Yes. You may need to call the police first, but as soon as you get home, you need to call your insurance company. Ask your agent what forms you should fill out and to help you make other necessary reports on the accident. Click here for no-fault insurance accident information.
Can I sue if I’m a passenger in a car accident?
If you’ve been injured in any way, there’s a good chance you have a case! If you’re a passenger in any vehicle, there’s no possible way the accident was your fault, and you should be compensated for all of the medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that have racked-up as a result of the accident.
Can I sue if I’m a passenger in the car at fault in an accident?
If you’re a passenger, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault in a motor vehicle accident. You have the right to file a personal injury claim against whichever driver was negligent (in some cases, that could be multiple drivers).
Who do I sue if I’m the passenger in a car accident?
In some cases, the fault may be contested. In this situation, it’s best to contact an experienced car accident lawyer in your area (Cellino & Barnes has locations across New York State and serve accident victims in many other states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut).
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident or if you have any other questions regarding what to do or accident scene questions, call us now at (800) 888-8888 or contact us.