Sunday, September 20, 2009

6. Cooperate with the authorities. In New York State if you are involved in a vehicle accident causing injury to person or property, you are required to stop and give your name, address, and show your driver's license and insurance identification card to the person who is injured or whose property is damaged, or to a police officer. If such information isn't available at the scene of the accident, it must be given to the nearest police station or judicial officer as soon as possible. Be sure to cooperate with the police officer investigating the case. But,stick to the facts. For instance, if you were driving 30 miles an hour, say so. Do not say, "I wasn't speeding."
7. Tell the police the truth. Do what the police tell you to do. Note the officer's name and precinct number, command, or barracks. Ask how you can get a copy of the police accident report.
8. But don't admit fault. Do not volunteer any information about who was to blame for the accident. You may think you are in the wrong and then learn that the other driver is as much or more to blame than you are. You should first talk to your insurance agent, your lawyer, or both. Anything you say to the police or the other driver can be used against you later. Do not agree to pay for damages or sign any paper except a traffic ticket until you check with your insurance company or lawyer.
9. Document what happened. Make a note of the details of the accident, including date and time, road conditions, weather conditions and speed of all other cars involved. It also is a good idea to draw a diagram of the accident showing the position and direction of the cars justprior to and after the accident: make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color and the exact location of the collision and how it happened.
10. Take photographs. Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. (Use a cell phone's camera if you have nothing else.)Make sure you photographs show how the accident happened. Take your own photographs even if the police take photographs or you believe that your mechanic or insurance company will take them.
Photograph: (a) any broken parts, inside or outside the vehicle such as dashboard, windshield, seat, broken glass or lenses, bumper that fell off, etc.; (b) vehicle license plates; (c) skid marks; (d) street signs; and, (e) injuries to persons involved in the accident. Take the photos from different angles and positions. Take more photographs than you think you'll need. ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE WATCH FOR TRAFFIC.

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