If you have ever been involved in a car accident, it can be a really terrifying experience and one where you may not be in the right frame of mind to make quick and necessary decisions. However, if you follow these simple instructions you can mitigate your damages and also ensure that you are fully protected.
It is important that you stay at the scene until you have been instructed to do so by the police. If you are involved in a car accident and if it is your fault, you can be susceptible to criminal penalties as a potential hit and run driver. As soon as an accident occurs, check on the well being of your passengers along with yourself. Of course, pain and injuries may not manifest at this point due to adrenaline but check for any cuts and bruises. After you have made sure everyone is safe, call 911. If you are uncertain on the property damage or who was at fault do not engage the other driver or come to an “agreement,” it is very important to call the police because the police report will be the objective evidence of fault and liability.
After you have called the police, you can exchange information with the other driver. The pertinent information to exchange includes: names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers and basic insurance information. If there are passengers try and obtain their information as well. At this juncture, it is very important to not admit fault or apologize at the accident scene. You can be polite but do not admit anything! This is crucial because anything you say at this point can be used against you in a subsequent civil proceeding. While at the scene, try and also identify any witnesses and take down their names, numbers and addresses as well.
At this point, it is important to take pictures of the accident scene. Take pictures of your car and the other car involved. If you suffered bruises or cuts take pictures of those injuries as well.
After the accident and after you speak to the authorities, inform your insurance company of the accident. It is important to be honest with them and tell them your account of what occurred. Next, it is important to keep track of your medical treatment. If you are any of your passengers feel any sort of pain from the accident at the scene, inform the police officer to call an ambulance. It is important to seek medical treatment and go to the ER. With respect to medical treatment, pain symptoms from car accidents can manifest a day or two after the accident. When you experience pain go to the ER.
If you do seek medical attention, it is important to keep track of the various treaters and also the medication you received. If you lost time from work, keep track of those days as well.
Do not talk to anyone about the accident other than your injury attorney, the police, and your insurance company. If an agent from the other insurance company calls you, be polite and simply refer them to your attorney.
Be weary of early settlement offers. It is important to consult with an injury attorney to analyze your case with respect to property damage and medical treatment rendered. An attorney can help best maximize the value of your case. If settlement cannot be achieved in New Jersey, you have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
The injury attorneys at PELLETTIERI, RABSTEIN & ALTMAN are extremely experienced in representing victims of motor vehicle accidents. Our office provides free initial consultations and a contingency fee, so you do not have to pay anything unless we secure a settlement or a verdict.