What to Do After a Car Accident
Chances are you will be involved in one or more car accidents in your life. It will take you by surprise and possibly flip your world upside down for some time. What you do in the minutes and hours following a crash can have an enormous impact on your physical and financial recovery. While a car accident may not be an everyday occurrence for most people, it is for the Bergen County attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman; we regularly help people navigate this confusing and sometimes complex process. Following this post-accident checklist of things you need to do after a car accident will improve the outcome of your claim or lawsuit.
What to do after a car wreck
Wondering what do you do after a fender bender? What about after a more serious crash? The process is basically the same though common sense may make some steps more important if someone has suffered severe injuries.
- Remain at the scene. Even if the accident is minor, New York and New Jersey laws make it a crime to leave the scene of an accident if there is any personal injury or property damage. Depending on the state and the severity of the crash, a violation can result in fines, imprisonment, and suspension of the driver’s license.
- Maintain safety of yourself and others. This may mean remaining at the scene but moving to a safe area away from the road.
- Assess injuries. Determine how many people are injured and whether anyone needs an emergency vehicles.
- Call the police. State laws require those involved in car accidents to report them to the police. You may also need the police report when making an insurance claim and as evidence in any related lawsuit.
- Make an accurate report. Stick to the facts and do not speculate. Do not admit guilt.
- Document the accident. Take photos of the scene. Note any landmarks and anything that shows how far vehicles travelled, how they landed, and where they are in relation to features like trees and medians. Even include some of the bystanders to help show scale and to document who was present.
- Exchange your name and insurance information with other parties. Do not give your license and registration.
- Obtain names and contact information of witnesses.
- See a medical professional. If you were seriously injured, accept the emergency transport offered at the scene. Even if you do not believe you were injured, see a doctor as soon as possible; many injuries are not visible immediately and waiting for treatment can make them worse.
- Keep all of the information in a single place. Make notes of what happened during and after the accident, who you spoke with, the name of the ambulance company if one provided transport to the hospital, and any doctors seen. Retain medical bills, car repair bills, and record of time off of work.
Taking the right steps after an accident can make a big difference
In addition to helping determine legal issues, taking proper steps will help protect your rights.
New York and New Jersey are both no-fault states, meaning an injured party generally must seek compensation from his or her own insurance policy rather than the negligent party’s. It also means that under these Personal Injury Protection claims, damages are limited to out of pocket expenses so they do not include pain and suffering.
However, if your personal injuries fall into certain categories, you may file a claim against the other party and recover for your pain and suffering. It is important to speak with a car accident lawyer in Bergen County or Rockland County as soon as possible after an accident to understand your rights.
What to do after a car accident that’s not your fault
Too many people fall into the trap of believing that they just need to tell the truth and they will be fine. While it is true that they need to tell the truth, insurance adjusters can be tricky and find ways to trap people with words. If you were involved in an accident, even one that was not your fault, speak with a car accident lawyer at KGG before speaking with an insurance representative. We know what traps to look for and can tell the truth on your behalf.
Trusted car accident attorneys in Rockland County and Bergen County
After helping people through the aftermath of car crashes in New York and New Jersey, the accident attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman recognize the importance of having committed, caring, and aggressive representation on your side. For more than 40 years, our attorneys have helped clients throughout Rockland County and Bergen County understand their rights and establish their claims to receive maximum compensation.
The New York and New Jersey claims process has strictly-enforced deadlines so do not delay speaking with one of our attorneys. Call today to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Additional NY and NJ car accident resources:
- Essurance, How to Handle a Car Accident, https://www.esurance.com/info/car/how-to-handle-a-car-accident
- Justia, 2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 39 – Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation Section 39:4-129 – Action in case of accident., https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2013/title-39/section-39-4-129