Starting at the scene of the accident can prevent you from coming up short when it comes to paying for the injuries and property damage. In New Jersey, all car accidents that result in injuries, death, or property damage worth more than $500 should be reported to the authorities. Calling the police to the scene may help you avoid a fine for not reporting the accident and will give you access to immediate help for injuries. It can also protect you from a situation where the other driver wants to rush into a deal to keep the accident quiet.
Speak to other vehicle occupants
In addition to calling for emergency help, you should also exchange information with the other driver, including a way to contact them, their insurance information and driver’s license number. While you speak to the driver and the police, stick to making factual statements about what you saw and heard leading up to the accident. The police will make any determinations of fault based on your statements of fact.
Seek out and record evidence
Claims for injuries arising out of a car accident can be a lengthy process. Much of the information that you remember clearly on the date of the accident will not be so clear later on. Other information could be lost forever if you do not begin documenting it at the scene of the accident.
If you have a camera available, such as on your phone, take photographic evidence of where the accident happened, like where the vehicles came to rest after the collision and what kind of property damage it caused. Make sure you are in a safe place before you begin taking photographs. It is never a good idea to take photographs in the middle of an active roadway, particularly if you are on a highway.
If there are independent witnesses, be sure to speak to them and to get their contact information. The police do not always record this information in their report, so it is important you have possession of your own record of who saw the accident besides the drivers involved in the collision.
Finally, you can take notes about what happened on the road before, during and after the crash. Take note of how your body moved in the vehicle and whether the impact caused any part of your body to impact the interior of your vehicle. Any proof and details about the collision will help as you file a claim.
Contact a legal expert
After you leave the accident scene, you might want to call the other driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. But it’s important to keep in mind that they might be just as likely to rush a settlement as a frantic, at-fault driver. Insurance adjusters work for a company and not you specifically, so a personal injury attorney can help review your case and seek the damages you deserve.