Ugh, you’ve just been in a car accident -- not exactly what you were expecting when you woke up this morning. You’ve heard you should exchange information with the other driver but what information exactly do you need? What if the other driver isn’t forthcoming or doesn’t seem honest? Read on to understand what information you should exchange after a car accident and why it’s important.
Car Accidents First Steps: Medical Attention and Police Reports
If you’ve been injured in an accident, one of your first orders of business should be to seek medical attention. If you were severely injured and unable to collect the other driver's information, don’t panic, this information may have been collected by the police or there may be other ways to obtain it. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it's best to seek medical care to not only start the healing process but also create documentation of your injuries. Some car accident injuries, especially whiplash, may be slower to present symptoms.
Police reports are also essential to your car accident case. According to New Jersey state law, you must file a police report for any car accident that causes more than $500 in damage, which is a relatively small sum. Call the police or ask a witness, bystander or other driver to call if that's not possible.
What Information to Exchange After a Car Accident
There are three types of information that will be important to try to collect after a car accident:
- Contact information for all other drivers, passengers and witnesses
- Vehicle information
- Car insurance information
By collecting this information, you’re putting yourself in the best possible position to be able to file a claim and recoup losses from the accident.
The most important pieces of information to exchange or obtain from the other driver after a car accident are contact details and car insurance information. Specifically, for contact details, try to collect the following from all other drivers involved in the accident as well as passengers and witnesses:
- Full Name
- Telephone Number
- Email Address
One way of making sure you have the driver’s correct information is to ask for their driver’s license or a copy of the car registration. You can take a picture of these documents or write down the pertinent details. If the driver’s information does not match the contact information of the registration paperwork, you could ask if the driver is the owner of the vehicle.
Obtaining the license plate, vehicle details and even VIN number for the vehicle can be helpful after an accident especially when the driver is not the owner of the vehicle. You can do this by taking a picture of the vehicle’s license plate along with other photos showing the make and model of the car. This information may also be available on the car registration form or insurance card. Try to collect the following information about the vehicle itself:
- VIN (vehicle identification number, found on the car registration)
Getting these details can be of great help when identifying the other drivers and vehicles after an accident.
New Jersey and New York are both no-fault insurance states, which means that your own insurance will be the primary party who will pay for your losses and damages. However, in cases of serious or permanent injury, you may have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. Determining fault is a lengthy and complicated process and not something that will happen at the accident scene. Gathering these insurance details of the other driver is critical even though you may be in a no-fault insurance state.
- Name of Insurance Company
- Insurance Policy Number
- Contact Details for the Insurance Company
- Name of the Person Listed as Being Insured
Once you’ve gathered these details, you can share the information with an attorney who can help you determine who is at fault, liability for your losses and your options for filing a claim and recovering compensation. If you were involved in a hit and run accident or could not obtain these details, an experienced car accident lawyer can also conduct an investigation.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t go it alone. An experienced car accident lawyer can advocate for your best interest and pursue fair compensation for your damages. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, you can count on us to work tirelessly for your quality of life. With our long track record of success, we’ve helped people just like you move forward after sustaining an injury that was caused by another’s negligence. Contact us now at 877-448-7350