If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey, you should take certain actions at the scene and in the days, weeks and possibly months after after the accident to ensure you will be able to receive all the protections allowed under the law in the event of injury.

What To Do At the Scene

What to do after a car accidentCheck for injuries to yourself and others and call 911 to report the accident. Stay at the scene until the police arrive, unless you need to be transported by emergency vehicle to a medical facility. It’s best not to move any of the vehicles until the police arrive, but in some situations this may be necessary. If so, try to take photos and document the scene as best as possible before the vehicles are moved. If you have a smart phone with a camera, use it to take as many photos as you can. Accident scene documentation is important as long as it’s done safely and you are physically able. In addition to photos of the scene, the vehicles and any physical injury, note the time of day/night, the visibility, weather and road conditions and any other factors you deem important to the incident. Exchange contact information with the other drivers and get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

What To Do Immediately After the Accident

Go to the hospital or a medical facility to be examined and receive any necessary medical care. Even if you don’t think you are badly injured, you should allow a medical professional to make that determination. Tell the medical provider about any and all aches, pains and symptoms following the accident. Describe the mechanics of the accident and your position in the vehicle to help identify any possible complications that may not show up immediately.

Once you’ve sought medical attention and are feeling well enough, promptly report the accident to your insurance carrier. Submit a claim for medical coverage, as well as property damage, to your carrier and/or the insurance of the other driver. The longer you wait to report a claim, the greater the chances of it being denied or viewed as disingenuous by the insurance company.

Follow-up Actions

If you’re not sure of the specifics of your insurance coverage, take a good look at your policy. Your declarations page details the coverage you have. Follow-up on medical treatment for your injuries, which should be covered by the PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage in your policy. Obtain a copy of the police report, which is usually available a few days after the accident. Keep records of everything related to your accident – bills, receipts, reports, notes, photos, statements, etc. The more evidence you collect at the outset will help your case later on. Now is the time to consult with an experienced New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney to discuss your claim, review your rights and determine the best way to proceed.

Close to 6.5 million motor vehicle accidents occur on U.S. roadways every year. Given these high numbers and the probability that you’ll be involved in a motor vehicle accident at some point in your life, it is advisable to keep a warning triangle, cones and emergency flares in the trunk of your vehicle. If you don’t have a smart phone or portable camera, it may be a good idea to keep a disposable flash camera in your glove box. Finally, make sure you always have your insurance card and documentation in the car since it is proof of your liability insurance and contains important insurance company contact information, your policy number and other relevant information that will be needed in the event of an accident.