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The Ultimate “What to Do After a Car Accident” Checklist

The Ultimate “What to Do After a Car Accident” Checklist

Car accidents can leave you distraught and wondering how to respond. Especially when the emotions run high, you may forget what actions to take to put yourself in a good position. Along with worrying about the injuries, you need to cover yourself for insurance and potential legal issues. This is why you may want to know a checklist of how to respond after a car accident.

#1: Check for Injuries

After a car accident, you need to check to see that no one suffered injuries. Never panic and drive off right away because it falls into the category of a hit and run, which can land you in serious legal trouble. You need to check to see that everyone in your car was uninjured, and you need to check to see that everyone from the other car was uninjured.

Keep a calm and clear-headed demeanor because you need to think clearly after the accident. Accidents can stress you out, but one of the best things that you can do is to stay calm.

#2: Get the Vehicles Involved out of Traffic

Staying on the road poses a threat to other vehicles that may come upon the accident, so you want to clear the road. Move as far away from traffic as possible, but stay on the scene. Warn oncoming traffic with hazard lights or with road flares.

#3: Call the Police

In cases where a death or injury happened, you need to call the police according to New Jersey law. The other time where you would need to call them is when one of the vehicles suffered damage of over $500. You do this for two reasons: First, you should always seek medical attention after an accident even if you feel fine. Some injuries won’t manifest themselves until a couple of weeks later. Second, the police will file a report that you can use for documentation of your claim.

The officer usually gives their opinion on whether someone violated a traffic law and caused an accident, which is valuable to your case.

Some of the steps after the police arrive include:

  • Answering questions to help the officer file a report
  • Providing driver’s license and insurance information
  • Tell the officer what happened, but keep to the facts
  • Request a copy of the police report for your insurance claim

#4: Exchange Information and Snap Photos

You will want to exchange information with the other driver like the name, address, phone number and insurance information. After you do that, you will want to snap some photos of your own from the accident. While the police officer will take photos, you always take photos of your own as additional evidence.

#5: Get a Medical Examination

After an accident, you should get a medical examination done as soon as possible to document the specifics of your case. In cases where you file an insurance claim, they will want evidence of your injuries and getting one later can hurt your compensation. They may, for example, try to blame your injuries on something else.

#6: Begin the Claims Process

Once you finish with this, you will need to inform your insurance company that you had an accident. This begins the claims process. You can file the claim either with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. Usually, they will just request basic information and photos from the scene of the accident.

After that, you would take the car to one of the auto body shops in South Jersey. You could Google, “Auto body shop near me,” to look at the ones available. In some cases, an insurance company will recommend that you use one of theirs. You have no legal obligation to use the ones that they recommend. In fact, it’s one of your protections as a consumer to use whatever auto body shop you would like. Many times, insurance companies recommend one because it keeps their own costs low, but it doesn’t go in your best interests.

Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. Also, sometimes the other party’s insurance may call you and request a statement. Never give a statement to the other party’s insurance without your lawyer present to ensure that they don’t take something you said out of context. This can hurt your settlement.

Possible Action Required: File a Report with the MVC

Along with the other things, you will need to file a report with the MVC in New Jersey if you had an accident of over $500. You do this if you had damage of over $500, and you didn’t report it to the police. You must send the MVC a letter within 10 days of the accident. The letter must tell about the circumstances of the accident and give as much information as possible. This is a fill-in for if you didn’t call the police to the scene of the accident, but it provides you with official documentation if you need to use it.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best body shop in NJ, call Elmer’s Auto Body in South Jersey. For over 70 years, we have served the local community with some of the best auto body services, and we’re a family-owned and operated business. We seek to make services easy, convenient and fast. If you were in an accident recently and require auto body repairs, you can speak with us at (856) 218-0202.

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