What should I do after a car accident?

By Melissa Barbosa Kobernitski, Esq.

Motor vehicle accidents happen very often. According to the New York State Department of Health, during the period between 2012 and 2014, there was an annual average of 1,098 deaths, 12,093 hospitalizations and 136,913 emergency department visits due to motor vehicle traffic injuries among New York State residents.

When an accident occurs, it is common to feel disoriented and confused due to the impact and surprise. So, knowing in advance what to do after an accident can be very helpful in case you ever happen to be involved in one.

After a motor vehicle accident, you should try to do the following:

  • Call the police to report the accident and, if anyone is injured, request an ambulance. As you may know, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.
  • You may exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. However, avoid discussing fault. Remember, anything you say can be used against you later on. If the other driver makes an admission of fault, keep a mental note.
  • To the extent possible, document the accident by taking photos of the area, your injuries, and the damage to the vehicles involved. Videos are also a good idea.
  • Ascertain whether there were any eyewitnesses to the accident and get their names and contact information.
  • Make sure you ask the police officer where you can obtain a copy of your accident report.
  • Seek medical treatment if you are injured and focus on your recovery.
  • Notify your insurance about the accident as soon as possible.
  • Do not make any statements or answer any questions from the other driver’s insurance company until you have consulted with your attorney.
  • If anyone is injured or killed and/or the property damage exceeds $1,000, you will need to file an MV-104 form to report your accident in New York within 10 days from the accident. Otherwise, your driver’s license may be suspended.
  • Call your PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER without delay. Please note that in New York, you have 30 days from the accident within which to file a No-Fault application or your claim for payment of your medical bills and lost wages may be denied. If the accident involved an MTA, NYCTA, NICE, or another city bus, you must file a notice of claim within 90 days from the accident so you can pursue a personal injury action. If this requirement is not met, your lawsuit against them may be dismissed. There are other statutory deadlines as well, so you should not wait to speak with your lawyer right after your accident.

If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident in New York state, BARBOSA KOBERNITSKI LAW can provide the trusted guidance and experienced legal help you need. Call 212-969-8117 for a free consultation or e-mail us at There are no upfront fees and you only pay when we win.

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