If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident in New Jersey, please keep these tips in mind. Whether you are potentially the at fault party or an injured party, understanding that what you do in the aftermath of an accident can impact a lawsuit is critical.
- Take photos. Almost everyone carries a cell phone today. It is important to capture “evidence” in a case early on. If you were involved in an automobile accident, snap photos of all vehicles involved (including the other vehicle’s license plate) and of the accident scene. If you were involved in a fall down or sustained an injury on someone’s property, snap some photos of the area where you fell and the defect that caused your fall.
- Report the accident (and injuries) to the Police. First, in any motor vehicle accident involving $500 in property damage (almost every accident) the law requires you to report the accident. Second, you should not move the vehicles until the police arrive as they can document evidence of how the collision occurred.
- Report an automobile accident and your injuries to your automobile insurance carrier. Your automobile insurance carrier will pay for your medical treatment pursuant to the terms of your automobile insurance coverage. If you were working at the time of the accident, report the accident and injuries to your employer who should provide Worker’s compensation coverage to pay for medical treatment.
- Do not speak to anyone other than your own insurance adjustor about the accident. Statements given to the opposing insurance carrier may be harmful to your case. What you tell your own insurance carrier may also be used against you. Think carefully before you speak. Your policy requires you to cooperate with your own insurance carrier, but you are under no obligation to speak to anyone else’s insurance carrier.
- If you are injured, seek legal advice. Before giving any statements to anyone other than your insurance adjustor, talk to an attorney if you think you may have a claim Claims against public entities (State, County & Local Government, School Boards, certain hospitals and colleges) require a Notice of Claim filing within 90 days from the date of your accident. An attorney, if retained early on, can protect your interest and preserve your claim. There are filing deadlines for temporary disability claims as well.
- Go to the emergency room to be evaluated. You may not feel immediate pain, however, it is documented that pain from trauma can begin immediately or within the next 24 to 48 hours. Do not delay treatment.
- Seek follow up medical treatment and be sure to give your physician your complete medical
history as well as any a history of any prior injuries.
- Do not post anything on social media regarding your accidents or injuries. Set your Facebook and other social media sites to strict privacy settings so that your Facebook can only be reviewed by your friends. Social media posts can be misconstrued and harmful to your case. Even if set to private, postings may be uncovered in a claim. Do not post anything that could be misconstrued as detrimental to your claim.
- Do not admit fault. Our first inclination after an accident is to say, “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault.” While you should check on the other driver and ask if they are ok, fault is determined by a jury, not by you. Your admission of fault will be used against you in a trial. On the other hand, do tell the police what you observed the other person do wrong. Too often the failure to do so at the scene is viewed as proof the other driver didn’t do anything wrong.
What you do before an accident can be even more important than what you do after an accident. It is important you that understand your automobile insurance coverage BEFORE you are involved in an automobile accident. Certain types of coverage restrict your rights to pursue
a claim in the event you are injured. Weir Attorneys will gladly review your automobile insurance coverage and answer any questions about your automobile insurance coverage at no cost to you. Contact us today (609) 594-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org