Nobody wants to be involved in an accident. It can be pretty traumatizing, especially if you’re injured. But an accident can throw your life off balance even if you’re not hurt. The financial costs can be astronomical, and the legal process can be confusing and time-consuming.
It is even worse if you don’t know what to do following an accident. The last thing you would want is to make a mistake that could cost you financially or even legally. If you have been involved in an accident, here are eight critical steps you should take:
1. Stop And Assess The Situation NJ
If you’re injured, it’s essential to get medical attention immediately. But even if you’re not hurt, it’s crucial to ensure that everyone involved is safe and that there is no further danger.
If the accident is minor and everyone is safe, you can move your vehicle to the side of the road. But if the accident is more serious, it’s essential to leave your vehicle where it is and not try to move it.
Also, look around and see if there is any damage to property, such as a fence or a parked car. Every tiny detail matters and could be important later on as it can help your personal injury lawyer to build a strong case. You need to include crucial details to avoid losing your chances of getting a fair settlement.
2. Call The Police
It can be tempting to exchange insurance information with the other driver and be on your way, especially if you are on the wrong side. But it’s essential to call the police, even if the accident seems minor. The police will create a report of the accident, which will be important when you make an insurance claim. The report will also come in handy if you need to take legal action.
When the police arrive on the scene, make sure to give them an accurate account of what happened. But avoid giving them your opinion of who was at fault. Just stick to the facts and let the police officer make their determination.
Also, be sure to get the name and badge number of the officer so you can obtain a copy of the report later on.
3. Exchange Information With The Other Driver
You need a way to contact the other driver, and they need a way to contact you. So, exchange insurance information and get the following from the other driver:
• Full name
• Contact information
• Insurance company name and policy number
It’s important to get this information even if the other driver is at fault. If they don’t have insurance, you may still be able to claim through your insurer if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Get their license plate number if the other driver tries to give you false information or leaves the accident scene. This will come in handy when you file a police report.
4. Gather Evidence
Insurance companies can be hard to deal with and often look for ways to minimize the money they have to pay. So, you must gather as much evidence as possible to strengthen your case.
If you have a camera or a smartphone, take pictures of the following:
• The damage to your vehicle
• The damage to the other driver’s vehicle
• The scene of the accident, including skid marks, debris, and any property damage
These pictures will be important when you make an insurance claim. They can help to prove how the accident happened and who was at fault.
If there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names and contact information. Their testimony could be important later on.
5. Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you don’t think you’re injured, you must see a doctor immediately after the accident. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not present themselves until days or weeks after the accident.
If you wait too long to see a doctor, the insurance company may try to argue that your injuries are not related to the accident. So, get checked out immediately, and keeping your medical records and documentation in order is essential.
Ideally, it would be best if you document everything related to your injuries, including:
• The date of the accident
• The date you first sought medical treatment
• A list of all your injuries
• All medical bills and expenses
• Any missed work or lost wages
It will be handy to have all this information when seeking compensation for your injuries.
6. Call Your Insurance Company
When you have sufficient evidence, the next step is to call your insurance company and give them a report of the accident. It’s essential to be honest with your insurer, even if you think it will cost you more money in the long run. If you try to hide information or exaggerate the extent of the damage, it could come back to bite you later.
Your insurance company will likely assign an adjuster to your case, and they will contact you to get more information about the accident. They may also ask you to submit a copy of the police report and any other evidence you have collected.
Depending on your insurance policy, you may need to pay a deductible before your insurer covers the cost of the repairs. Be sure to ask your insurer about this to know what to expect.
7. Hire A Lawyer
Dealing with insurance companies is no easy feat. They are often challenging to deal with, and they seek ways to minimize the money they have to pay out. So, it would be best if you had an experienced car accident lawyer.
A lawyer can help you navigate the complicated legal process and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. They will also deal with the insurance companies on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery.
8. File A Lawsuit
You may need to file a lawsuit if you cannot settle with the insurance company. This is a complicated process, and you must have an experienced lawyer.
Your lawyer will handle all aspects of the lawsuit, including filing the necessary paperwork, gathering evidence, and representing you in court. Filing a lawsuit is often the last resort, but getting the compensation you deserve may be necessary. If your case goes to trial, it will be up to a judge or jury to decide how much money you should receive.
Accidents happen. And when they do, it’s essential to know what to do next. Accidents happen. And when they do, it’s essential to know what to do next. With these steps, you can be sure to handle the situation correctly.