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Legal Representation for Auto Accident Victims in Bergen County and Hudson County
Our Experienced Accident Lawyers Explain the Steps to Take Following a Motor Vehicle Collision in New Jersey
If you have been involved in a collision, there are important steps you need to try to take in order to protect your health and make sure you have the best chance possible to seek compensation for your injuries. While we recommend that you try to do all of the following, remember that seeking medical attention should always be your first priority. We can always investigate any information you weren’t able to collect at the scene of the accident.
As a result, if you failed to take any of these steps, do not assume that you will be unable to assert your legal rights. These are just recommendations – best practices – and they are not mandatory in order to seek financial compensation.
1. Pull Over at the Scene of the Accident
When you are involved in a collision, you should always pull over to the side of the road at the scene of the accident (assuming you are able to do so). This is true even in hit-and-run accidents. Leaving the scene of an accident in New Jersey is a criminal offense, and you should never chase after another vehicle.
2. Call 911
You should call 911 from the scene of the collision. This is important for two reasons: First, you should seek medical attention after any car accident – even if you initially feel fine. Brain injuries, spine injuries, and other serious internal injuries can take days or weeks to manifest symptoms. If you do not see a doctor after your accident, your condition could worsen before you realize that anything is wrong.
Second, you will want to obtain a police report to help with your accident claim. While not necessarily determinative, a police report showing that another driver hit you (and not the other way around) can be an important piece of evidence when negotiating with the insurance companies or presenting your case at trial.
3. Collect the Other Driver’s Information
Once you are safely out of traffic and the police and EMTs are on their way, you should exchange information with the other driver. The pieces of information you will want to try to collect include:
- The driver’s name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number
- The driver’s insurance company and policy number
- The name, address, and phone number of the vehicle’s owner (if different from the driver)
In addition, be sure to write down the license plate number, color, make, and model of the vehicle that hit you.
4. Take Photos and Collect Witnesses’ Contact Information
If you have a camera on your phone, you should take photos of everything. This includes your car, the other car, the surroundings, the road, any traffic signs or signals, and your injuries. You should also take notes about the time of day, weather conditions, and any other details about the scene or the collision.
If anyone stopped to offer assistance, you should seek to collect his or her contact information as well. Witnesses can often provide key information to aid in victims’ claims for financial compensation.
5. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
While you should report the accident to your insurance company, you need to be careful to avoid discussing any details about the collision. Unfortunately, from the moment you report the accident, the insurance companies will be working against you in order to try to minimize your compensation. If you make statements suggesting that you may have been at-fault – even if you don’t really know what happened – the insurance companies will most likely try to use these against you.
6. Speak with an Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
In order to avoid making mistakes that could compromise your legal rights, you should speak with an accident lawyer as soon as possible. The law firm you choose will be able to deal with the insurance companies for you, while working to collect any additional information needed in order to help you secure maximum compensation for your motor vehicle accident. Accident claims are complicated, and individuals who choose not to hire a lawyer often end up with less than they deserve.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey Hasson, P.C. | New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey Hasson, P.C., we handle all motor vehicle accident cases on contingency. This means that you pay nothing unless we secure financial compensation on your behalf. To learn more about what to do after an accident and find out how our attorneys can help you protect your rights, call (866) 699-6487 or contact us online now.