If you are ever involved in a car accident in New Jersey, the steps you take in the aftermath of the mishap can have a strong impact on your case.
Leading car accident attorneys in New Jersey can guide you to the steps that you should, following a collision, to strengthen your case.
Here is a checklist of what you should do after a collision.
Check for Injuries
You should check everyone in your vehicle for injuries. This is important for several reasons. The most critical is that in the event of an injury, you can call 911 for medical attention. The police will be alerted by the 911 call. The accident report that a law enforcement officer prepares will serve as proof in your favor.
Get in Touch with a Doctor Immediately
It might appear that you and everyone else in your vehicle have escaped without injuries. However, it is possible to suffer from injuries that are not immediately apparent. For example, close head injuries may go undetected, despite heavy bleeding within. Such an injury can only be revealed by scanning and testing. You should preserve all documents pertaining to treatment as proof of your injuries.
Take Multiple Photos of the Accident Site
Take as many pictures as you possibly can from various angles before the vehicles are moved from their places. The photos will show the position of the vehicles, skid marks that indicate the path of travel and other important information. These photos will prove to be instrumental during the collision investigation. It will also be of great help to accident reconstruction experts.
Take Addresses, Phone Numbers and Names of All Accident Witnesses
Witness statements can prove to be decisive in an accident lawsuit. You should collect contact details so that your motor vehicle accident attorneys can contact them and record their statements before they forget key details about the incident.
Exchange Insurance Information
It is necessary for you to supply this information to the other driver. You should also take the insurance information from the other driver so that your vehicle accident lawyer can start talking to their insurance company. This will reveal the type of insurance policies that are applicable to the case.
Cooperate with Police
You should provide all the necessary assistance to law enforcement. This will help the law enforcers to draw up an accident report. Make sure that you are calm during the entire process. Above all, answer all questions truthfully. State all the relevant facts. At this stage, you should not give your opinions about who is responsible. Just mention the relevant facts for the law enforcement officers to prepare the accident report. You can obtain a copy of the accident report one to two days following the incident upon request.
Written Accident Report
Under the laws of New Jersey, you must file a written report about the accident in case of death or injury or property damage in excess of $500. You have to file this report within 10 days of the incident. Your motor vehicle accident attorney will have a crucial role to play during this critical phase. If you fail to file this report within the time limit, you may face penalties. In case the police has filed a report, then you do need to submit this report.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Get in touch with your insurer and inform them about the accident. The insurer of the other party will also try to talk to you. Refrain from providing any recorded statement without first consulting your motor vehicle accident lawyer. You should tell any insurance representative that contacts you to wait for your motor vehicle accident attorney to content them.
Do Not Accept Any Settlement Offer Without Consulting Your Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
You must avoid accepting any settlement offer from the other party’s insurer because you will not be entitled to any extra compensation. This can be a devastating loss if you find out that your injuries are more serious than expected and would take longer to heal, thus entailing more medical expenditure.
In case you get a settlement offer, your attorney should first take a look at it. You motor vehicle accident attorney will be able to determine if the compensation is sufficient or not for covering the cost of damage suffered.
Note down Everything That You Can Remember About the Event
Once the accident has occurred, you should record your memories of the incident at the earliest opportunity. This will prevent you from forgetting key facts about the accident. Do not make the mistake of assuming that you will be able to remember everything.
If you are suffering from shock or anxiety following the accident, then you might not be able to remember all the facts later on. Maintain a record of the treatment that you have undertaken. Note down any pain or discomfort that you have felt following the accident. Also, record the impact that the accident has had on your ability to perform at work and at home.
Obtain Help from an Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
You should not postpone legal assistance following a vehicle crash. You should get in touch with the right motor vehicle accident attorney at the earliest since their assistance is imperative. With their expert assistance and advice, you can have a strong case in your favor. Your motor vehicle accident lawyer will take care of all legalities, maintaining evidence and talking with the other party’s insurance company.
Another key benefit of having a proven motor vehicle accident lawyer on your side is that you can afford to relax and recuperate while your attorney handles everything. You can concentrate on regaining your health while your motor vehicle lawyer works diligently to prepare a solid lawsuit that will compensate you nicely.
There are several other facets pertaining to the checklist above that you need to take care of in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident.
Best Way of Responding to Insurance Company of the Other Party
If you are injured and/or have suffered property damage due to a motor vehicle crash in New Jersey, then you will have several rights under the law of the state.
However, it is imperative that you avoid saying anything that will undermine or weaken the lawsuit. If you are injured or experiencing shock as a result of the accident, then getting legal counsel is more important than ever since with their experience you can take the right steps even if you are feeling unwell. You will have to make a number of key decisions in the aftermath of the vehicle crash for which you will need a motor vehicle attorney.
In accordance with the insurance policy contract that you have signed, you must provide a statement to your own insurer. Never make the mistake of talking to the representative of the other party’s insurer. Do not think that it is alright to talk with them if the circumstances are in favor and the other party is responsible for the mishap. The representative of the other party’s insurance company will do their best to gain information from you that might be of help in denying you your compensation.
Getting in touch with a dependable motor vehicle accident attorney after a crash is vital since such legal professionals have the requisite expertise for dealing with the other party’s insurance company. This is all the more important considering that the insurance company of the at-fault driver will have a panel of experienced lawyers to fight their case. Hiring a successful NJ motor vehicle accident lawyer with vast experience is of the utmost importance following an accident.
Your lawyer will know how to respond and deal with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Calling the Police Following an Accident
If you have suffered property damage in excess of $500, then you will need to file a police report. If the accident happened on a New Jersey interstate, then it will be up to the New Jersey State Police to investigate.
If the collision took place on a county road, then the local township police or the county police will be involved.
If the at-fault driver stops you from calling the police, contact your lawyer or insurance company. The at-fault driver is acting according to his interests that are contrary to yours. In your best interest, you should call the police immediately to have a strong case in your favor.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, make sure that you obtain the contact details from the other driver. Use your smartphone camera or any other camera that you may possess to take a picture of the driver and their license. Do not talk about anything else besides this. Refrain from small talks or talking about your injuries.
Do not try to give any kind of reassurance to the other driver. Refrain from playing down your injuries or talking about any other car collision that you have been involved in. Any information that you provide this way can be used against you so beware and keep silent. The conversation might appear to be well-intentioned but it can prove to be detrimental to your case.
When the police do arrive, cooperate with them in every way. Make sure that you note down the names and numbers of the officers responding to the collision.
First off, make sure that you get off the road and are in a safe position from incoming traffic. Now start searching for eye witnesses who have seen it all. Talk to them and ask them for their contact information. Write down their names, take their photos and record their vehicle plate number.
Remember, you cannot afford to relax and expect the police to do it all for you. Police may be more interested in securing the site, providing assistance to injured persons and restoring traffic. This may distract them from getting all eye witness accounts. Don’t take anything for granted. Be proactive and seek out witnesses on your own initiative instead of relying on the police.
You will likely have a smartphone with a camera. Don’t be shy about taking photos of the crash scene, your own vehicle and the vehicle of the at-fault driver. Record photos from all perspectives so that the crash site becomes self-explanatory and self-evident. Also take photos of eye witnesses as well as their auto license plates.
Police Report Errors
More often than not, police reports are replete with critical errors that can potentially ruin your case. You should be extra-vigilant in this regard and point out any discrepancy that you find in the report.
Get in touch with your lawyer immediately once you get the police report. Read the report with your lawyer and highlight discrepancies and inaccuracies. Your lawyer will immediately file your own amendment against the report with the concerned law enforcement agency – this will be the agency of the responding officers.
Your lawyer will talk to the police captain involved in the investigation, point out the errors and file the amendment before the erroneous police report is finalized. The right motor vehicle accident attorney can draft the ideal amendment that will strengthen your case.
Following a motor vehicle accident, implement the steps in the checklist above. Most importantly, find the best motor vehicle attorney to win the case.
We have helped innumerable clients over the course of more than 3 decades. Thanks to our expert legal assistance, our clients have to date won aggregate claims in excess of $50 million.
Contact us today.