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Handling a traffic accident in congested traffic

Perhaps better than anyone in the United States, drivers in New York understand the frustrations and dangers of driving in heavy traffic congestions. It is everyone's worst driving nightmare to have a stalled car or a fender bender clog up a lane (or two) during the morning or afternoon commute. These days, it seems that anytime of the day is rush hour. New Yorkers, in particular, aren't going to just drive by smiling after wasting a half-hour or more to zipper-merge around an accident site.  

Inevitably, though, nearly every driver will be involved in an accident at some point in their driving lives. With millions of cars, trucks, taxi cabs and buses on our roads everyday, avoiding a collision is increasingly less likely. Unfortunately, even minor accidents can cause injuries to the people involved in the vehicles.

Before getting out of your car, ask yourself these questions

With cars honking and drivers shaking their fists as they crawl past, it may be tempting to drive the car out of harm's way or even get out to push the vehicle off to one side. Before making that decision, consider the following:

  • Are you or any of your passengers injured in any way?
  • Did the other vehicle remain at the scene of the accident?
  • Are there any injured riders in the other vehicle?
  • Is there enough room on the road shoulder to stand safely out of traffic?
  • Will moving your damaged car mean crossing lanes of traffic?

While these may seem like common-sense questions to consider, dozens of people are injured or killed every year across New York after they have stepped out of their car after an accident. In some cases, they are struck by an oncoming vehicle. In some cases they just don't realize how injured they are until they start exerting themselves.

Car accidents actually become financial transactions

According to a report in U.S. News, it is import to remember that what may be a car accident today will become a financial transaction involving insurance companies tomorrow. Take the following steps to protect your rights:

1. Call the police immediately. Don't decide among you and the other driver whether the police need to be involved. In the event of an injury or vehicle damage that aren't apparent at the scene, you will have difficulty filing an insurance claim if there is no police report.

2. While waiting for the police, make small talk with the other driver, but do not engage in any conversation about the accident. This may also be a good time to exchange insurance information, but it is also okay to wait for the police to arrive.  

3. Give your accurate, truthful report to the police out of earshot of the other driver or passengers who may have been involved. If the police want to take the report from both drivers at the same time, respectfully request that you give your report separately and privately.

4. Do not deny medical treatment or an ambulance ride, if offered at the scene. 

While your insurance company will expect an immediate report, it makes sense to talk to an attorney first, to discuss the circumstances and get guidance on how to proceed with filing the claim, particularly if there is an injury involved. 

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