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Law Offices of John Morelli
A Personal Injury Firm Serving All Of South Jersey

Steps To Take Following A Car Accident

Unfortunately, each year thousands of people are involved in traffic accidents. In spite of relentless efforts to increase road safety and awareness about preventive measures, the human and economic burdens of car accidents increase steadily.

However, very few people know precisely what to do in the aftermath of a collision. This knowledge is very important. It can help prevent further injuries, minimize costs and facilitate further actions relevant to insurance matters and repairs. Whether it is simply a bump in the parking lot or a more serious accident where people are injured, taking the right actions immediately can save lives and improve the outcome for everyone involved.

Strict Process Required By Insurance Companies

If you do not follow the right procedure, you could face difficulties getting your insurance company to pay your claims. You also may end up having problems with the law, and have fines to pay or other consequences.

You should follow the right steps so that when you file police reports and when you file for insurance compensation, no unwanted omissions or obstacles appear. The first important thing if you are involved in car accident is to try to stay calm and concentrated.

Having first-aid supplies and an emergency kit in your car is a good precautionary measure. Flares, a bright orange or yellow vest, a cellphone and a disposable camera are objects that also can provide great help. Pen and papers are necessary items that you may have in your gloves department. This will allow you to make notes.

Information that you should collect after an accident includes:

  1. The names, phones and addresses of all drivers, passengers and witnesses involved in the accident
  2. License plate numbers, driver's license numbers
  3. Insurance companies of all drivers involved
  4. Registered owners of all cars
  5. Year, model, make and other relevant information of all cars involved
  6. Names and badge numbers of police officers and other emergency personnel

Keep Yourself Safe

If you are in an accident, immediately and safely pull over to the side of the road. Turn off your car and turn on your hazard lights. Check to see if anyone is hurt. If there is an injured person, do not move them until you take standard first aid measures. Try to help injured persons if you are trained in administering first aid.

Place flares, cones or triangles alongside the road before the accident so that passing traffic will be aware that an accident happened ahead and therefore more attention will be provided to avoid more accidents.

You or somebody else should call the police if there is an accident involving injury or substantial damage to property. Stay at the scene of the accident until the police tell you to leave. If you are not sure about the damage caused, call the police. Leaving the scene of an accident can be illegal, so take a careful approach before you act.

When informing the police about the accident, you should tell them about injured people. This will allow them to mobilize enough emergency personnel to provide all aid necessary.

In all cases, the driver must carry an insurance certificate. In case of an accident, the insured and the authorized driver must report and submit a written claim to the insurance company. If you have or suspect that you have an injury, visit a hospital or a doctor immediately. This will allow you to get proper medical care if you need it, but it may have legal implications later. If you cannot prove that you suffered injury in the accident with a medical report from a doctor who examined you immediately after the accident, you may face difficulties for your claims and in litigious cases with the other drivers.

By following these simple steps, you will be able to keep the accident scene as safe as possible; ensure that nobody else is injured, harmed or more damaged after the accident; and protect your rights.

Knowing in advance how to proceed when involved in any type of car accident helps you stay calm, take the appropriate measures and make the best of a difficult, dangerous or even tragic situation.

Evidence From The Accident Scene

You can also photograph the scene of the accident so that you will have documentation about the damage to all vehicles. Try to get an overall picture of the accident so that your claims later will be facilitated. Your cellphone may have a camera — if it does, use it!

Take notes of what you think happened and caused the accident. In your description you should include information such as the location where the accident occurred and the road conditions, speed limits, traffic control devices, the weather and the lighting.

Try to avoid discussing what happened with anyone else except the police. Limit yourself in only describing facts. Do not make accusations and do not say that it was your fault.

Even if you think that you are at fault, do not admit liability. It is possible that there are unknown factors that played a role. Comments that you make could be counterproductive or even used against you later.

Immediately report the accident to your insurance company and to the police.

Attorneys Ready To Represent You

The lawyers at Law Offices of John Morelli, have been providing representation in New Jersey for injured drivers and passengers for decades.

Contact us at our Cherry Hill office by calling 856-528-3205.

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