It happens far too often here in New Jersey. Traffic is heavy, people are running late, and when you least expect it there’s an accident. If you are the one who was hit, you have to pull over and take more time out of your busy day.
Fortunately, New Jersey has laws which make insurance claims as simple and transparent as they can be. There are a few things you need to take care of right away, at the scene of the accident, to make it as smooth as possible. But if you have been injured or are getting push-back from your insurance company, there are things you may need to do.
At the scene
After the initial shock, there’s nothing more important than making sure no one was seriously hurt. Start with you and your passengers, but take the time to help others if you can. Don’t ever be afraid to call 911 after an accident and have the police arrive.
Whether you do call the police or determine it’s just a small fender-bender, there are some things you’ll need to do to make a full report to your insurance company. These include:
- Get the name, addresses, and phone numbers along with insurance information and license plates from every car that was involved in the accident.
- If there are any witnesses, ask them for information, too. This is an important step many people forget.
- Take pictures of the damage on the scene. Try to take pictures of the entire car, too, in case they make a claim there was more damage than you saw at first.
- If you hit a parked car, leave a note with all this information and document what you can.
If the damage appears to be less than $500, you may not want to call the police. These days just about any damage to a car can create a repair bill that high, so consider making that call. If it does turn out later that it was over that amount, you will need to report the accident to the New Jersey DOT.
Call your insurance company as soon as you can to report everything. Because New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, they will be handling everything for you. It is their responsibility to make sure that your repairs and any medical bills are taken care of.
If you have any soreness in your neck or arms over the next week, go to a doctor immediately. There are many injuries from accidents that do not show up right away. You will need to have this checked out and, if it seems to be accident related, report this as well to your insurance company.
If you are having trouble getting what you need from your insurance company, it may help to talk to a personal injury attorney. Usually, this is not necessary and they cooperate rather than spend the time fighting you. But if the repairs are high or you were severely injured, it may be worth it to them to put you through the wringer. That’s when you need an attorney on your side.