What To Do After A Car Accident in New York City, New York

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there were a total of 282,082 motor vehicle crashes in New York State in 2020. Of these crashes, 955 were fatal, and 123,221 resulted in injuries.


In New York City specifically, the number of crashes in 2020 was 146,057, with 215 fatalities and 56,168 injuries. This represents a decrease in the number of crashes compared to the previous year, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting decrease in traffic.


The most common causes of car accidents in New York City are driver inattention or distraction, following too closely, unsafe speed, and failure to yield the right of way. These factors can be exacerbated by heavy traffic, road construction, and weather conditions.


It’s worth noting that car accidents can have a disproportionate impact on certain groups, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. In 2020, there were 131 pedestrian fatalities and 28 cyclist fatalities in New York City alone. These vulnerable road users are at a higher risk of serious injury or death in the event of a car accident.


Car accidents can be a traumatic and stressful experience, especially in a city like New York City, where traffic can be heavy and congested. Knowing what to do after a car accident in New York City can help ease some of the anxiety and confusion that comes with such an event.

Steps to take after a car accident:

1. Check for injuries and call for medical assistance:

The first thing to do after a car accident is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.

2. Move to a safe location:

If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location to avoid further accidents or blockages. If the vehicle cannot be moved, turn on the hazard lights or set up flares or cones to warn other drivers.

3. Exchange information with the other driver:

Exchange information with the other driver, including name, contact information, insurance information, and vehicle registration number. It’s also important to take note of the make and model of the other vehicle, the location of the accident, and any witnesses.

4. Report the accident to the police and your insurance company:

Report the accident to the police and your insurance company as soon as possible. The police will create an accident report, which can be useful for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

5. Document the scene of the accident:

Take pictures of the scene of the accident, including damage to the vehicles, street signs, and any other relevant details. Keep track of any medical bills or expenses related to the accident.

6. Seek legal advice: It’s important to seek legal advice after a car accident, especially if there are serious injuries, disputes with insurance companies, or liability issues.

It’s important to remember that every car accident is unique, and whether or not to hire a lawyer will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights and options.

Legalities of car accidents in New York City

1. No-Fault Insurance Law

New York State follows a no-fault insurance law, which means that each driver’s insurance company will cover their own medical expenses and damages, regardless of who caused the accident. This law is designed to reduce the number of lawsuits resulting from car accidents and ensure that victims receive compensation quickly.

Under this law, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $50,000 in no-fault insurance coverage. This coverage typically includes medical expenses, lost wages, and other related expenses.

2. Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Claims

No-fault insurance does not apply to cases involving serious injuries or death. In these cases, the injured party can sue the at-fault driver for compensation.

A serious injury is defined as an injury that results in death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement, or a fracture. In order to file a serious injury claim, the victim must show that the injury meets one of these criteria.

In cases of wrongful death, the family of the deceased can file a claim for compensation. This can include expenses related to the funeral and burial, as well as compensation for the loss of income and support.

3. Comparative Negligence Law

New York State follows a comparative negligence law, which means that compensation is awarded based on the degree of fault each party had in causing the accident. This means that even if a driver is partially at fault for the accident, they may still be able to recover compensation.

For example, if a driver is found to be 25% at fault for an accident and the other driver is 75% at fault, they may be able to recover 75% of their damages.

4. Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits in New York is three years from the date of the accident. Failure to file a lawsuit within this time frame can result in the forfeiture of the right to sue.

It’s important to note that this time frame applies to both personal injury and property damage claims. If a victim does not file a lawsuit within three years of the accident, they may be unable to recover compensation.


5. Reporting Requirements

Accidents that result in property damage over $1,000 or injuries or death must be reported to the police. This report is necessary for insurance purposes and can also be used as evidence in a lawsuit.


If the police are not called to the scene of the accident, the parties involved must exchange information such as names, addresses, and insurance information. Failure to exchange this information can result in fines and other penalties.

6. Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in New York City can be severe, including fines, license suspension or revocation, and even criminal charges. Drivers are required to stop and exchange information with the other driver and any injured parties.

If a driver leaves the scene of an accident without exchanging information or providing assistance to injured parties, they may be charged with hit and run, which can result in criminal charges and a permanent criminal record.

Benefits of hiring a New York car accident lawyer:

1. Understanding of New York Car Accident Laws

Car accident lawyers in New York have a thorough understanding of the state’s car accident laws. They can provide expert guidance on issues such as liability, insurance claims, and compensation.

2. Investigation and Evidence Gathering

Car accident lawyers can conduct investigations and gather evidence to build a strong case. This can include interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports and medical records, and analyzing the accident scene.

3. Negotiation with Insurance Companies

Car accident lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of their clients to ensure that they receive fair compensation for their injuries and damages. They can also handle all communication with the insurance company, reducing stress and frustration for the victim.

4. Trial Experience

If a car accident case goes to trial, a lawyer with trial experience can provide valuable representation. They can prepare and present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and argue the case in front of a judge and jury.

5. Maximizing Compensation

Car accident lawyers can help their clients maximize their compensation by identifying all potential sources of compensation and calculating the full extent of their damages. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

6. Contingency Fees

Many car accident lawyers in New York work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only receive payment if the client receives a settlement or award. This can make hiring a lawyer more accessible for victims who may not have the resources to pay for legal representation upfront.

7. Peace of Mind

Hiring a car accident lawyer can provide peace of mind for victims and their families. They can handle all aspects of the case, allowing victims to focus on their recovery and well-being.

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