Proving fault after an auto accident can sometimes be a difficult task. If you have been involved in an auto collision, you should try to take each of the following steps, if possible, in order to protect your health and to ensure that you are compensated for your injuries.
1. Pull Over and Call 911
After an accident you should always pull over to the side of the road at the scene of the accident, if you are able to safely do so. After pulling over and making sure that everyone is safe, you should next call 911. Calling 911 from the scene of the accident is important for two reasons. First, you should always seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you initially feel fine. Some injuries, such as whiplash or serious internal injuries, can take days or even weeks to manifest themselves after an accident. Second, you want police to arrive at the scene so that they can prepare a police report to document your accident claim. The police report may contain valuable information for your case, such as the officer’s opinion that one person violated a traffic law, thereby causing the accident.
2. Exchange Information
You should also exchange information with all of the other drivers involved in the accident. Information you will want to obtain includes their name, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance information. After obtaining this information, however, you should try to limit your communication with any other drivers, and avoid making any statements about what caused the accident. Perhaps most importantly, you should never admit fault or apologize in any way for the accident to the other driver.
3. Gather Evidence
If it is safe to do so and you are physically able to, take photographs of the scene of the accident, the damage to all vehicles involved, skid marks on the road, and your injuries. In addition, while the accident is still fresh in your mind, write down anything that might seem important regarding the accident, such as the weather conditions, road conditions, and the names and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
4. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Most insurance policies require that you timely notify your insurance company anytime you are involved in an accident. When talking to your insurance company, however you should avoid admitting to being at fault for the accident. In addition, you should avoid making any comments that downplay the severity of your injuries because, as discussed above, some injuries may take time to manifest.
5. Contact an Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer
Finally, you should consider contacting a New Jersey automobile accident attorney to discuss your case. Your attorney can seek medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and other damages caused by the accident on your behalf. The sooner you obtain an attorney, the better, as your attorney will also ensure that you do not give any statements or take any action that would jeopardize your case. For instance, you should not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Instead, let your attorney talk to them on your behalf. In addition, you should not sign any statements, waivers, or releases, or accept any cash to checks until you have consulted with an attorney, who will make sure that you are being treated fairly.
By taking the above steps, you can help to strengthen your case. In the event that you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident and need assistance, call us today at (908) 264-7228. The New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Harrell, Smith and Williams will guide you through the complex stages of your automobile accident claim to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.