New Jersey car accidents are, unfortunately, all too common and on the rise throughout the state, exemplified by recent news stories of serious car accidents from Tinton Falls, NJ to Jersey City. If you've been involved in a car accident in New Jersey, it’s important to document evidence to protect your best interests and maximize any claims. Keep in mind these steps to document evidence from a car accident scene in New Jersey.
Police reports are an important piece of evidence in documenting a car accident scene in New Jersey. First, NJ law requires that a police report is filed for any vehicle accident that results in more than $500 in damages. Given the costs of car repair and healthcare these days, reaching $500 worth of damage is not difficult so it’s best to file a police report as soon as possible.
If the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will file a report that details and documents the evidence they witnessed at the scene as well as summarizes witness interviews. If the police do not arrive at the scene, you can file a self-reporting crash form, SR-1.
You should retain a copy of the police report, whether you filed it yourself or not. In some cases, details in the police report may not be accurate or complete and you may be able reflect changes or corrections.
Contact Information for Other Drivers and Witnesses
Collect contact information from the other driver, passengers and witnesses to the crash. Make sure to also capture the other driver’s insurance details. 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.
Photographs can say a thousand words. Use your smartphone to take as many pictures as possible to document the accident scene. There are some key elements of a car accident scene and your claim to try to document as soon as possible:
- Vehicle Damage, including the inside of the car if damaged or airbags deployed. Try to take photos from multiple angles and close-up shots. Do the same with any other vehicles involved in the crash.
- Roadway Debris and Tire Marks
- Traffic Lights and Road Signs
- Weather, including wet surfaces, ice, snow, or wind damage
- Injuries, try to take pictures of your injuries as soon as you can and document your injuries as you recover.
Documenting the car accident with photographs is an important way to prove your claim down the road.
Keep Your Receipts
One of the most important tips for documenting car accidents in New Jersey is to keep any receipt or document related to your accident. If you need to file a claim, it's important to have documentation of the full extent of your expenses and losses. You may be able to claim expenses you may not have considered.
Examples of receipts, documents, and records you should save after a car accident:
- Medical bills and statements
- Receipts for personal property that needed to be replaced after the accident, like cell phones or computers
- Car repair bills
- Towing expenses
- Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
- Childcare costs as a result of the accident
- Household costs, such as cleaning services if you’re unable to perform your usual household duties
When in doubt, keep the receipt and keep them organized.
Filing a Car Accident Claim in New Jersey
New Jersey is a no-fault car insurance state, which means that your own insurance company is the primary insurer for your accident, regardless of who was at-fault. That doesn’t mean, however, that the insurance company will treat your claim and compensation demands fairly. And, if your own insurance cannot cover the full cost of damages, you may be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. It’s always a good idea to consult with a New Jersey car accident lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible after the accident.
The Office of Brandon J. Broderick, New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers, 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 for a free legal review.