If you have been injured in car accident, take immediate steps to protect your rights by contacting a New Jersey car accident attorney.
When it comes to car accidents, no one is immune. The average driver will be involved in three to four crashes during their lifetime. That is a startling statistic to say the least. Best case scenario, you have a fender bender and everyone goes home safely. Worst case, you are left with severe injuries and fatalities occur. Callagy Law’s Paramus car accident lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights in the aftermath of a crash.
To ensure you can make a strong claim and maximize a potential settlement, it is important to take the following steps:
What to Do Following a Car Accident: A Quick Checklist
- Stop and Check for Injuries
- Call 911 or Local Law Enforcement
- Try to Document the Scene
- Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
- Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
- Contact an Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorney
Stop and Check for Injuries
New Jersey law requires you to stop and stay at the scene of any accident until law enforcement responds or you are cleared leave, even if damage is minimal and there are no injuries.
If you can, move your vehicle to a safe location (e.g. the side of the road, a parking lot) so it does not put other motorists at risk. If you cannot, set up flares if you have them and/or turn on your hazard lights.
Check to see if you or any passengers have injuries. Remember, your injuries may not be visible, and adrenaline may be masking them. More on this in a moment.
You are required by law to report the accident to law enforcement as soon as possible. If there are injuries and/or extensive damage, call 911. Be sure to tell the dispatcher your location (street, intersection, mile market, etc.), whether there are any injuries or anyone is complaining of discomfort, nausea, or pain, or if there are hazards, such as traffic problems or overturned vehicles.
The police will respond if there are injuries, hazards, and/or if any driver is suspected of being impaired.
If you can, exchange insurance information with the other driver. Do not apologize or admit fault; you may say, “Are you injured?”
When you talk to law enforcement, give them the facts and only the facts. Do not guess or speculate: if you do not know the answer to a question, simply say, “I don’t know.” If you are asked if you are injured, tell them that you are going to the emergency room for an evaluation.
Try to Document the Scene
Your safety is the top priority, but if you are able, try to take photos or video of the scene. Document damage to the vehicles, location of vehicles, visible injuries, the road conditions, weather conditions, any road obstructions (potholes), street signs, signs of intoxication, demeanor of the other driver, passengers, and witnesses, etc. You may not need all of this evidence but is better to capture everything you think may be useful later.
Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
Some injuries are obvious: a broken bone, lacerations, etc. Others are more subtle. Symptoms may not present themselves for hours or even days after the accident, but they can be serious or life-threatening. Conditions like head/brain trauma, spinal injuries, and internal bleeding, for example, can be dangerous if not treated.
It is also important to seek medical attention immediately so you can build the strongest case for compensation that you can. Even if you do not plan on taking legal action, it is a smart idea to leave the option on the table. You need documentation regarding the nature and extent of your injuries. Be sure to go to the emergency room as soon as you can.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Many insurance companies require you to notify them of an accident within 72 hours, and many require you to do so immediately. Just as you do when talking to law enforcement, do not guess or speculate. Stick to the facts about what happened. Do not admit fault, either at the scene or later.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorney
The other driver’s insurance company is likely to contact you as well. Their primary concern is not for your safety and certainly not for your financial situation. They want to minimize their payout. They may offer you a low ball settlement figure or even try to get you to admit fault so they can deny or reduce compensation.
It is best to contact a New Jersey accident attorney as soon as you can. We can negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies – and we never back down. Our team will work with you to develop a compelling case and maximize your settlement.
Dealing with an injury is difficult enough; trying to wrangle with insurance companies and the justice system on your own can be overwhelming. Let us help. Contact us today for a free consultation.