Experiencing an auto accident in New York can be a traumatic ordeal. Over 200,000 accidents occur every year in New York City and New York state averages around 300 deaths from car accidents. The alarming statistics convince many residents to be extra vigilant on busy New York streets and highways. However, an accident can occur when you least expect it, even when you drive responsibly and practice caution. The period immediately following a wreck can be challenging and confusing, but you can use these suggestions to help you navigate your recovery.
The moments after an auto accident are terrifying for everyone involved. Whether the wreck involves a high-speed collision or a light rear-end impact, the experience can be jarring. Walking or driving away from the scene immediately after the accident is hazardous, and in most cases, it’s against the law. You can minimize further injuries, find safety, and ensure the incident is properly investigated and documented by emergency personnel by following these steps.
Check for Injuries
Checking the passengers and yourself for injuries is your primary concern. When a friend or family member has a life-threatening injury, you should call 911 before trying to move them. Check children and older adults first and ask them where the pain is located and how severe it is. Common injuries include whiplash, neck pain, low back pain.
Your adrenaline and anxiety may seem like they’re at record levels, but you have to remain calm after a wreck. If you have other passengers in the vehicle, they need reassurance that you’ll get them to safety and find help if they have injuries. Children and older occupants are more vulnerable to the emotional shock caused by a collision, and you need to be patient and supportive to calm their fears and move them to safety. Take a quick look at your surroundings and determine if the car’s capable of moving to a safer area.
Move to Safety
An auto accident that blocks traffic or occurs in a heavily congested location can lead to another wreck if the vehicle isn’t moved to safety. If your car is too damaged to operate and requires a tow truck, activate your hazard lights and place emergency triangle signs around the perimeter to warn other drivers. Carefully move your passengers to a sheltered area but try not to travel too far from the crash site. If you’re in a busy section of the street and need assistance moving multiple passengers, don’t be afraid to ask a bystander for help. New Yorkers are always willing to lend a hand during an emergency, and your group is safer when they’re quickly moved away from traffic congestion.
In New York, drivers are required to report an accident as soon as they reach safety. Look around for street signs or ask a pedestrian for your location. Providing accurate information to a 911 dispatcher can help direct police and emergency staff to your location quicker. Mention any injuries and their severity. EMT and police prioritize the most serious calls, and you may have to wait longer for a minor collision. The officers will speak to you and the other driver separately, so you don’t have to worry about interference from other parties. Provide the officers with your license and registration and recount how the incident occurred.
Stay at the Scene
Although you need to find a safe place away from traffic, you shouldn’t leave the scene until the officers have finished their investigation and provided you with the police report. Look over the information for any errors before contacting your insurance company. A misspelling or incorrect address number can cause a frustrating delay when the report is processed.
Take several pictures of the vehicles involved from different angles and take close-up shots of your car for your insurance company. Also, photograph the surrounding area and document any injuries of your passengers. Record the names of everyone involved in the wreck and make sure to write down the other driver’s insurance name and policy number. Politely ask to see the insurance card for the information in case the other driver tries to give you false information. Providing adequate documentation of the accident allows your insurance agent and medical professional to work more efficiently.
If you or your passengers noticed the other driver texting on the phone or driving uncontrollably before the wreck, make a note of it but do not mention it to the other party. Depending on the wreck’s location, security cameras may have picked up footage of the event. Recording the exact time of the accident can help authorities review footage and determine if the other driver was negligent.
Minimize Contact With the Other Driver
Asking the other driver and passengers if they’re alright and collecting their information is ok, but avoid prolonged conversations with anyone other than your passengers. Wrecks can cause people to act irrationally, and emotions can boil over if the situation is not handled correctly.
An argument that erupts over who is at fault or why someone was on their phone before the accident is unproductive and can lead to additional injuries or criminal charges. After getting their information, stay away from the other driver, and rely on your insurance company, legal experts, and law enforcement for any details involving the accident. Let the police talk to the other parties about their version of the events, so you can focus on the well-being of your passengers.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You might want to head home and relax after an accident, but try to contact your insurance company after receiving the police report. Recounting your story when the events are fresh in your mind can give your agent a clearer picture of the scene. Give your agent the police report number so they can access the data online to study it, and ask the agent for a rental car reservation. Some rental car companies can save you a taxi ride by sending a car to pick you up.
Call a Tow Truck
Before contacting a towing company to remove your vehicle, grab any documents, equipment, and other possessions before the truck arrives. Before leaving, talk to the driver and determine if you need the car towed to a repair shop or your residence.
What Type of Injuries Occur After Auto Accidents?
You may think that a minor wreck does not require medical attention, but accident doctors recommend that victims seek treatment for any injury regardless of its severity. An EMT who arrives at the scene of the wreck will ask you if you need assistance, and it’s best to be checked out for injuries before visiting your doctor. Some injuries are not visibly apparent, and you may experience pain several hours or days after the accident. Here are some of the common injuries resulting from auto accidents.
If your neck is hyperextended from an accident, you could get whiplash. The violent force from the wreck can cause your neck to shift past its typical range of motion. Some accident victims neglect treatment for whiplash because they believe it’s a minor issue that will heal on its own. Whether you experience minor soreness or intense neck pain, visit a medical professional for a thorough examination. Doctors typically order X-rays for anyone with neck or back pain to ensure the pain isn’t a result of a fracture or break.
The recovery period for whiplash depends on the severity of the injury, but most minor cases require a couple of weeks of treatment. Some of the treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Plenty of rest
- Cervical collars
- Ice packs and heating pads
- Prescription pain relievers
- Joint injection
- Spinal decompression
- Steroid injection
For less severe whiplash, most of the recovery period occurs at home and involves light exercise, rest, and avoiding strenuous tasks. When the condition causes extreme pain and decreased mobility, doctors can provide alternative treatments and suggest physical therapy or chiropractic sessions.
Although many neck injuries resulting from accidents are related to whiplash, the pain may be caused by a more severe condition. A vertebral disk injury, fracture, or spinal cord injury can involve a long recovery period. Injections, therapy exercises, chiropractic methods, and possibly surgery may be necessary to treat severe neck injuries.
When a collision causes a rider’s legs to smash into the dashboard or steering wheel, it can significantly damage the knee. Dashboard knee can be a minor injury that involves bruising and swelling, or it could mean a more critical issue that causes extreme pain, ACL tearing, fractures and fluid buildup. Major knee injuries require a lengthy recovery period before mobility is restored.
Violent crashes often lead to broken bones, and your physician will check for breaks with X-rays before ordering treatments. Broken hands and fingers are common injuries that can occur when your hand is slammed against the door or dashboard. Although it saves your life and should always be worn while driving, the seatbelt tightens against your body at impact and can cause broken ribs, fractured collarbones, and neck injuries.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be due to whiplash, or it can occur separately from whiplash. A herniated disc can cause extreme pain and require a more extended recovery period than one related to whiplash. Your doctor may suggest surgery if the condition is critical, or they can treat the symptoms with injections and months of physical therapy.
Lower back pain can reduce your mobility considerably. You can recover more quickly by following the physician’s treatment and therapy program. Exercising your body is challenging after an injury, but following a regimen closely gives you a better chance of a full recovery.
A thorough examination by a neurologist is essential when you’ve suffered a head injury in an accident. If left untreated, a head injury can progressively worsen and cause immense mental and physical pain. A physician performs a series of tests, including EEG, MRI/CT, electromyography, nerve conduction studies, and other tests to decide if you have a concussion or other head injury. For most concussions, the recovery period is brief, but patients are encouraged to refrain from playing sports like football or rugby during treatment.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries can occur from serious accidents. Your head can collide with the windshield, dashboard, or windows during a wreak. A neurosurgeon can treat brain injuries with surgery, and the recovery process may involve several months of therapy. Although you can recover from a brain injury, the experience can alter your cognitive ability and movement permanently.
An internal injury can be life-threatening, and it’s vital to see a physician immediately if you suffer from these symptoms:
- Breathing problems
- Chest pain
- Abdomen swelling
- Bloody urine
- Excessive bruising
Without medical treatment, a patient can die from internal bleeding in a matter of hours. Treatment for internal injuries can involve blood transfusions, intravenous fluids, and surgery. When damaged blood vessels cause bleeding, a surgeon can stitch the area to repair it or apply heat to seal the vessels.
How a Car Accident Doctor Can Help
Whether your accident was serious or not, you shouldn’t hesitate to visit a car accident doctor. Physicians can treat multiple injuries, but those who specialize in car accident treatments have more experience with the diagnosis, treatment methods, and recovery process. A New York accident doctor can also assist you by providing documented evidence of your injuries and treatments. If a dispute arises over who’s at fault for the wreck, you need to provide insurance agents and legal experts with accurate data.
Auto Accident Injury Doctor in Brooklyn NY, & Bronx NY
At Medical Clinics of New York City, we provide our patients with world-class treatments and exceptional customer service. Whether you’re from Brooklyn NY or Bronx NY, we have several locations in the city to serve you. Our physicians offer advanced treatments for auto accidents, neurological issues, and work-related injuries. Recovering from an accident requires therapy, patience, and perseverance, but our skilled physicians can treat your condition and provide pain management services. Contact us to make an appointment.