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Understanding post-vehicle accident fundamentals

New York City is compact. The island of Manhattan alone is just 23 square miles in size and is, by the latest count, home to more than 1.5 million people. By comparison, the most developed land mass in Wisconsin's Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, Madeline, is nearly twice as large and home to just 300 year-round residents.

Motor vehicle accidents happen in both locations, but it should surprise no one that they occur a lot more frequently in Manhattan. And you can be sure that the crashes in New York tend to cause more severe injuries. Still, there is little difference between the two sites when it comes to the steps to take after a collision. New York law requires certain actions.

Don't just drive away

The main thing to lock in your memory is that it is against the law to leave the scene of a crash in which anyone has been injured or killed. After an accident, here's what else you need to do.

  • Exchange information with others involved. If you collided with another vehicle, exchange names, addresses, drivers license numbers – and the name and policy number of your respective insurance companies. Your vehicle registration number should be part of the exchange too.
  • Locate property owners or call authorities. If the accident damages a parked vehicle, private property or a pet, the law obliges you to either locate the owner or call the police.
  • Damage over $1,000 requires filing an MV-104. It doesn't matter who might be at fault, all involved individuals must file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident with the state within 10 days of the event.
  • Police must be called in cases of human injury or death. Immediate notification is required so that an official police report of the accident can be filed, along with all others involved.

These steps reflect only what should occur immediately after a crash. There are others to consider, such as calling your insurance company and perhaps an attorney. We will dig into those and other issues in future posts.

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