Car accidents are an unfortunate reality for many New Jersey residents. If you are involved in one, you should take certain critical steps afterward.
Check yourself and passengers for injuries and move to safety
The first thing you should do after a collision is to check yourself and your passengers, if you have any, for injuries. Move your vehicle to safety immediately if it’s possible. If it’s not possible, get out of the car and go to the side of the road to a safe area.
Although it might seem natural to apologize to the other driver involved in the accident, don’t do that. Whatever you say can be twisted and used against you in a potential lawsuit. Even saying “sorry” can be taken as an admission of guilt. Keep the conversation to the bare minimum with the other driver and exchange names, contact information and insurance, driver’s license and license plate information.
Get the names and contact information of witnesses as well. If you can, get them to write their statements or record them speaking of their accounts of the events.
Call 911 immediately. Get the police officer’s name and badge number and ask them how you can get a copy of the accident report for your own records.
Get medical attention
Seeking medical attention after an accident is crucial. You might feel fine, but many injuries remain dormant for hours due to adrenaline surging through your body. If you are considering filing a car accident claim, you will want to have copies of your medical records if you do have injuries.
Document the scene
Take photos of the accident scene, particularly of anything showing the damages. You might want to keep a journal and write your own memory of the events while they’re still fresh in your mind.
Contact your insurance company
Call your insurance company to notify someone that you were involved in a car accident. Be discreet and stick to the basic facts. Don’t offer extra information or say anything that sounds like an admission of fault.