A car accident in New Jersey is a terrible experience, but if you don't report the accident properly, things could get worse. Creating documentation to support your accident case is vital. This includes proving the accident actually happened, how it happened, and who was involved. For the insurance company to evaluate a claim correctly, this information is necessary.
Because New Jersey is a no-fault state, your own insurance company is responsible for paying for any injuries you sustain in an accident covered by your PIP policy (personal injury insurance). However, if you suffer a serious injury, PIP insurance may not be sufficient, and a third-party claim or lawsuit may be necessary. Gathering all available evidence to support your claim is very important, whether you're thinking about filing a personal injury claim following a car accident or not.
Below are important reasons to document everything following an accident. Retaining a New Jersey car accident attorney with experience is highly recommended. Even if you have questions, consult an attorney first. Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law has the experience to help you win your case.
1. File a Police Report
If it's a significant accident, call the police first. Obtaining a police report that gives complete, reliable information about an auto accident will greatly affect your car accident or personal injury claim. Witness testimonies that are helpful in claims are also taken by an officer.
In general, an insurance claim will require a police report, so always call the police following a car accident.
2. Exchange Information With The Other Driver
Another important step following a car accident is to exchange your information with the other driver. This includes their name, contact information, driver's license and insurance details.
You will contact your own insurance company to begin a claim, or the other the driver's insurer if the accident wasn't your fault. However, before you contact any insurance company, or before providing any detailed information, consulting a lawyer is beneficial. A lawyer can give you advice, and if you retain their services, will take over all communication with the insurance company.
3. Take Photos or Video
Using your smartphone, take pictures or video of any damage. You should document the damage from all angles, as well as any other relevant imagery, such as the scene of the accident, any hazardous conditions, etc. Also, while snapping photos, get pictures of each vehicle's license plate for your own records. This will help in your case.
4. Documentation Helps Even in Minor Accidents
In the event of minor accidents, the damage must be documented. No matter how minor or unimportant the damage, it might still cost thousands of dollars to repair. You need to take pictures and share information, but you don't need to call the police (in some cases). Later, when taking your car to a mechanic, they might find further damage, which would change your claim. Therefore, you'll need to keep this documentation on hand.
5. Filing a Car Accident Claim
The last step after accurately documenting all damages is filing a claim to recover losses, such as car repair costs and medical expenses. While some wait until they get home, other drivers make calls to their insurance company right away. We suggest you contact a lawyer before making a call to your insurance company. You must have enough paperwork in either situation to inform the claims agent and complete the claims process.
Following a NJ Car Accident, Contact Brandon J. Broderick For Help
In an auto accident, it is usually possible to establish the other driver's guilt by using witness testimony, police reports, electronic evidence, and medical records. This evidence can prove to be strong enough to prove liability against the other driver.
Our top NJ car accident lawyers can review the available evidence and may even add to the case by gathering further evidence. Even when other lawyers declare there is no case and insurance adjusters reject or undervalue your claim, we have decades of expertise fighting for our clients and succeeding.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we value client service. We are one of the area's top-rated law firms for car accidents, with offices throughout New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
For a free consultation, get in touch with us today.