Being involved in a car accident is a distressing experience, and the aftermath demands careful consideration to avoid common mistakes that can complicate the resolution process. It is imperative to understand the necessary basic steps and potential pitfalls to ensure a smoother post-accident journey.
Call Emergency Services
Promptly dial emergency services to report the accident.
Ensure that everyone involved, including yourself, receives necessary medical attention.
Describe the situation accurately to emergency responders to ensure appropriate assistance. New Jersey Law requires that all accidents with more than $500 in property damage, personal injury, or a fatality be reported to local police by the driver as soon as possible.
Document the Scene
Take clear and comprehensive photographs of the accident site, including vehicle damage and any relevant road signs or signals. Gather information from all involved parties and witnesses, noting down names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance details. Make a detailed written record of the events leading up to the accident while they are fresh in your memory.
Share Contact Details and Insurance Information Exchange not only contact details but also insurance information with the other party. Avoid making statements that could be construed as admissions of fault; stick to the facts. If the other party is uncooperative, document the license plate number and any visible vehicle damage.
Reporting to Authorities
Understand the Legal Obligation to Report
Be aware of and comply with the legal requirement to report the accident to the relevant authorities. Provide accurate and necessary information to law enforcement officers at the scene. Obtain a copy of the police report for your records; it can be crucial during insurance and legal proceedings. If the accident happens in NJ, you can easily access the New Jersey traffic crash report online once it has been filed.
Seeking Medical Attention
Importance of Seeking Medical Help
Seek medical attention for all parties involved, even if injuries seem minor. Document injuries with photographs and detailed medical reports; this documentation is vital for insurance claims and potential legal actions. Follow through with recommended medical treatments and keep records of all medical expenses.
Notifying Insurance Company
Timely Reporting to the Insurance Provider
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide a detailed account of the incident, including information gathered from the scene. Be cooperative but avoid accepting blame, and consult your insurance agent for guidance on the claims process.
Caution Against Admitting Fault
Resist the urge to admit fault at the scene; let the legal process determine liability. Provide factual information to law enforcement and insurance representatives. Consult with an attorney before making any statements that could be used against you in the future.
Ignoring Minor Injuries
Even seemingly minor injuries can have long-term consequences; don’t dismiss them. Document all injuries, no matter how small, and follow through with medical treatment. Minor injuries can sometimes develop into more significant issues over time.
Benefits of Consulting with a Car Accident Attorney
Understand your rights and potential legal options by consulting with a personal injury attorney. They can guide you through the legal process, ensuring you don’t miss crucial steps or deadlines. An attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and represent your interests in legal proceedings.
Settling Too Quickly
Various states have different statutes of limitations for various personal injury cases and actions. For almost all cases in New Jersey, individuals have two years to file their case, as dictated by New Jersey Revised Statutes 2A:14-2.
Avoid settling quickly with insurance companies before fully understanding the extent of damages and injuries. Consult with a Cherry Hill car accident attorney to assess the fairness of any settlement offers. Consider potential future costs, including ongoing medical treatment and long-term consequences, before agreeing to a settlement.