Understanding the laws for safe driving is essential before you get behind the wheel of a car. You may expect every driver to be safe and aware of their surroundings. However, accidents still happen. Auto accidents are stressful and emotional events, and a New Jersey attorney can help with what to do next. Assessing the scene of the accident can be difficult when you are in shock. Filing insurance claims can be tedious and frustrating. Plus, when car accidents do happen, the events following the incident happen quickly. Remembering all the details of the scene can be tricky. In many cases, the at-fault driver will go to court and pay damages on top of the insurance payout.
When a traffic case does go to court, hiring a lawyer who knows the New Jersey legal system well is essential. If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, keep these recommendations from a New Jersey attorney in mind.
New Jersey Attorney Tip #1: Check for Injuries and Move to a Safer Location
The first step after a car accident happens should always be an assessment of the scene. Not every incident leads to injuries, but it is crucial to take care of any that occur immediately. Check for injuries to any parties involved and quickly evaluate the damages. If injuries appear to be critical, do not move before emergency services arrive.
Car accidents can occur at any point on the road, and accidents frequently happen in inconvenient locations. If possible, move to a safe place quickly. Moving away from the flow of traffic will help ensure no other accidents happen. Before proceeding, try to quickly take a few pictures of the damage for insurance purposes. If needed, call emergency services before moving any vehicles.
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Call Emergency Services If Needed
If there are any injuries, immediately call 911. It is critical to have injuries assessed as quickly as possible to prevent them from getting worse. There may also be unseen injuries – such as concussions – which need to be evaluated by medical staff quickly. Paramedics and EMTs can provide onsite evaluations and decide on any necessary additional care.
Emergency services may not be needed if the damages to either vehicle are minimal and no serious injuries occurred. However, calling the police to document an accident can also be helpful during the insurance process. This documentation is critical if it is not clear who is at fault for causing the accident.
New Jersey Attorney Tip #3: Exchange Information and Document the Accident
Once all parties have been checked for injury and moved to a safe location on the road, begin the process of documenting the accident. Keep your insurance up to date and in your car to ensure accurate contact information for the insurance company. Also, write down any details about the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. Get the other person’s license plate number, the make and model of their vehicle, and a summary of damages in your own words. Having these details ready when talking with insurance agents can make the claims process easier.
Determine Insurance Details and Who Files the Claim
After documentation is complete, it is time to discuss who files the insurance claim. Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover the claim. If it’s clear who is at fault, both parties should reach out to the insurance to file the claim and discuss the next steps. In addition, if you are not at fault for the accident, calling your insurance to notify them of the details is also a good idea.
However, if the at-fault driver is not immediately known, start disputing the claim. Compile all available evidence and incorporate anything you documented at the initial accident scene, including photos, witness statements, and police reports. Then, find a lawyer and provide the details to them. A knowledgeable attorney will work with you to navigate the process and ensure your side of the story is heard.
Occasionally, the driver at fault is uninsured or does not have enough insurance coverage. If you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, contact your insurance company to discuss available coverage options. Most insurance companies have UM (uninsured motorist) coverage. However, make sure to contact your insurance company quickly, as most insurance companies only allow these claims to be filed within 30 days. Cases involving uninsured or underinsured motorists can be complicated, so speaking with a lawyer is essential to ensure the proper handling of the case.
New Jersey Attorney Tip #5: Call Your Local New Jersey Attorney
Car accidents often happen in a split second. One moment you are driving down the road; the next your car is damaged and your day has turned sour. While these are unfortunate events, thousands of car accidents happen every day in the United States. When you are involved in a car accident, remember to keep calm, assess for injuries immediately, contact emergency services, and document the crash. Documentation will help you down the line when filing an insurance claim or disputing the details in court.
If you or a loved one is in a car accident, working with an experienced lawyer is essential. A knowledgeable New Jersey attorney can help you through the insurance process and argue your case in a court of law. Leon Matchin has more than ten years of experience working on auto accident cases. Contact the Law Offices of Leon Matchin for a free consultation today at (732) 887-2479 or email [email protected]!