To avoid unnecessary complications, drivers should take measures to protect themselves before a car accident happens.
A car accident in New York often happens when people are least expecting it to. Distracted driving, speeding, running a red light, drunk driving or reckless driving are risks that people have to face every day and these behaviors can cause severe injury to innocent bystanders and other motorists.
In 2013, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles reported that there were over 304,000 traffic accidents that occurred throughout the state. More than 124,000 resulted in some type of injury and over 1,100 were fatal. A car accident can be a terrifying event and the aftermath of dealing with hospitals, insurance companies and lost income often leaves people emotionally and mentally exhausted. However, there are ways that people can prepare for a car accident before one happens.
DON’T SAY THE WRONG THING
Cars.com points out that one mistake people make is saying the wrong thing. It is common for people to automatically say something like “I’m so sorry” even if they had nothing to do with causing a collision. While it sounds innocent, such a statement could lead law enforcement to make the assumption that they are the one
responsible for the crash. This can prevent people from filing a compensation claim.
Another common statement is telling someone they are okay after an accident occurs. Victims of collisions are often in shock and it can take several hours before the shock wears off and the physical pain sets in. People want to avoid making any kind of statement that could cause issues with an insurance company. A better statement would be to say “I’m not sure” or “I am in shock.”
CHECK INSURANCE POLICY
In the state of New York, drivers are required to have insurance but they often do not understand what their policy does and does not cover. This can cause unnecessary problems after a car accident and additional expenses for the
injured victim. One good idea is for people to check their insurance policy to make sure that it will meet their financial needs. These needs include the following:
• Towing coverage
• Provision for rental car
• Underinsured driver coverage
• Uninsured driver coverage
Additionally, people may also want to look at their deductible to make sure it is one that they can afford in the event of a collision. People should also meet with their insurance agent to discuss items on their policy they do not fully understand.
Having the right tools on hand can help people document the accident and thereby strengthen their claim if an insurance company tries to deny it. American Family Insurance recommends having numbers for local law enforcement agencies, a disposable camera if people don’t have a good one on their phone, a copy of their insurance information, the vehicle’s registration, and pen and paper.
Drivers should also consider keeping a list of any special health conditions or allergies to alert first responders, contact information for doctors and family members, emergency equipment such as flares or cones, a blanket, and an accident form which can gather important information about the accident. Additionally, drivers in New York City should may also want to retain the number of an injury attorney who they can discuss their options with.