What to Do After a Car Accident
Accidents happen. When one happens to you, New Jersey requires that you report it if it involves injury, death, or over $500 worth of damage to vehicles or property.
- If law enforcement is not called to the accident scene and property damage was the only result, you’ll need to send a letter to your local Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Agency within 10 days of the accident, stating the circumstances and providing as much information as possible.
- When you have an accident, you need to keep your wits about you. Be sure to exchange information with all parties involved, including names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, car tag numbers, vehicle descriptions, and insurance information. If there were any witnesses, get their names and addresses too.
- It’s a good idea to write down the time and the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident, too.
- You’ll also need to notify your insurance agent.
AT THE SCENE OF A VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Make Observations About The Accident
Identify the witnesses so there will be someone to support your case if it goes to court. Write down their names and addresses and interview them. Ask them what they saw and make a note of phrases they used like “slammed into,” “plowed,” “speeding,” or “he ran the red light.” Beware of insurance representatives at the accident scene. It has been rumored that some insurance companies send adjusters to accident scenes in order to catch people off guard with incriminating questions or to have them sign away any rights they may have to future compensation.
See A Doctor Immediately After the Car Accident
Schedule an appointment with your own doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Don’t let the insurance adjuster choose a doctor for you. You have the right to use a doctor of your choice. See a doctor immediately. Although you may feel fine now or think your injuries aren’t very serious, symptoms such as the following can appear days after the accident:
Getting medical attention quickly isn’t just the best thing for your health; it also strengthens your personal injury claim.
If you wait several days or weeks after the accident to seek medical attention, it will be harder to prove that your injuries were the result of the car crash.
Take Pictures of the Accident scene and Injuries
Take pictures of your vehicle as soon as possible after the accident. When the adjuster asks for proof of the accident, it is difficult to dispute a picture taken of your car at the accident scene. Pictures of the damage will help tell your story. If possible, take pictures of the other cars involved in the accident as well. These pictures could help supply information about the severity of the impact associated with your accident. Take pictures of your injuries before they heal. In many cases, the seat belt strap will bruise you across your shoulder and chest, but after several weeks those bruises heal. Months later, when the insurance adjuster is arguing that the crash was not very significant, pictures of your bruises and other injuries will help solidify your claim of injury.
- Do give the other driver(s) your name, address, phone number, and vehicle registration number. If you’ve collided with a parked car attach a note with this information to that vehicle. If you simply leave, you may be committing a ‘hit and run’ crime.
- Do write down the particulars of the other driver(s) involved.
- Do write down the statements and particulars of any witnesses.
- Do sketch and write down what happened.
- Do ask the investigating officer where you’ll be able to obtain a copy of the accident report that will be filed. You might want a copy for insurance purposes.
We offer the following suggestions to help you help us obtain a fair settlement of your claim on be properly prepared for trial if need it:
1. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
It’s important that you follow all your doctor’s instructions. Keep all scheduled appointments. Return to your health care providers as often as necessary. Update your lawyer immediately if you see new or additional doctors or other health care providers. Their names, addresses and phone numbers are very important.
2. Keep A Diary
You might want to keep a daily or weekly diary of your injuries, treatment and progress. Your decision regarding this might be determined by the nature and severity of your particular injury. Such a diary might include the manner in which the accident affected your life; the frequency of pain and suffering and which parts of your body are affected; the types of pain such as “throbbing”, “stabbing” or “burning” sensation; and the types of medication taken, as well as the results obtained.
3. To Whom Are You Speaking?
Let your attorney talk for you. Avoid discussing your accident with anyone except your attorney. Your own insurer may desire to take your statement. If you are made aware of this desire, immediately notify your lawyer’s office. Never speak to the other party’s insurer. If asked, call your attorney immediately.
4. Keep All Evidence
Keep your prescription receipts, ambulance, hospital and medical bills, property damage estimates, and other evidence of your accident. If you keep a diary, log mileage incurred in obtaining your treatment. Otherwise, you might simply log your treatment, the date, and the office to which you traveled for treatment. Generally, keep a notation of the time you lose from work. If this time only amounts to a couple of days, further proof of loss (income tax returns for wage loss verification from the employer) may not be required.
If you come upon or receive any new information concerning the accident (additional witnesses, etc.), immediately inform your lawyer’s office. If you have taken any photographs, be sure to give them to your lawyer.
- Do notify your insurance company of the accident. They will supply you with their claim forms.
- Do begin keeping accurate records of any time you take off work because of this accident. (See Recovering Lost Wages.)
- Do write Down Your Observations.
- Do keep notes about your injuries. In 6 or 7 months, you might forget how it hurt just to get dressed, and the adjuster will try to make it seem like any description you give is an exaggeration. Write down your pain medications. These kinds of written documents can be very valuable when presenting your claim to the insurance adjuster or to a judge and jury in court.
- Do keep Records of Expenses.
The adjuster will ask for proof of anything you claim as an expense. Be sure you keep receipts for prescriptions and household services such as lawn mowing, getting someone to cook for you, car rentals, and so forth. Keep each of those receipts so you can document every tough law firm on your side. Don’t go it alone.
Consult an experienced Car Accident Lawyer at CourtLaw. We advocate for our client’s full financial recovery through detailed, meticulous preparation for trial. If you have been injured in a car accident, please Contact our firm to discuss your case. The Insurance Research Institute has found that, on an average, injured people who use a lawyer receive three and a half times more money than those who do not! The bottom line is that insurance adjusters are not on your side. Their goal is to save the insurance company money by giving you as little as possible. That is why you will need a team of experienced lawyers such as the The Law Office of Karim Arzadi.
The Law Office of Karim Arzadi serve the people of the following communities:
Essex County: Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, East Orange, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Montclair, Newark, North Caldwell, Nutley, Orange, Roseland, South Orange, Verona, West Caldwell, West Orange.
Hudson County: Bayonne, East Newark, Guttenberg, Harrison, Hoboken, Jersey City, Kearny, North Bergen, Secaucus, Union City, Weehawken, West New York.
Middlesex County: Carteret, Cranbury, Dunellen, East Brunswick, Edison, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Metuchen, Middlesex Borough, Milltown, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainsboro, Sayreville, South Amboy, South Brunswick, South Plainfield, South River, Spotswood, Woodbridge.
Union County: Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Elizabeth, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, New Providence, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union, Westfield, Winfield.