What to do after an accident

DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE!
Call the Police Immediately to report the accident, no matter how small and notify them as to any medical assistance which may be needed. It is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident, so stay with your vehicle until the police arrive.

Stay Calm, getting upset or angry will only make the situation worse and potentially volatile. Remember the old adage: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.”

Warn other motorists by turning on your vehicle’s flashers or setting up flares.

Get yourself off the roadway so as to avoid any further injuries from passing motorists.

Obtain witnesses names, phone numbers, and addresses which can become very important if the issue of who was at fault ever arises.

Exchange information with the other driver making sure you exchange the following information:
Driver’s Name
Address
Phone#
Driver’s License#
Vehicle year, make, model, color
Name & address of owner of vehicle
Insurance Co. name
Insurance Policy#

MAKE A DIAGRAM & TAKE PICTURES OF THE SCENE
If it is at all possible draw a diagram of the street and nearest intersection showing the relative position of the vehicles both before and after the accident. Also include any markers, such as street signs or posts or driveways to pinpoint the location of the accident. Be sure to notate what time of day it is, the weather (rainy, sunny, condition of the road, etc.) Jot down any other information you feel is relevant and pertinent.
Take pictures of all the vehicles involved. If you don’t have a cell phone camera, it is a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment in case of such an event.

NEVER ADMIT LIABILITY!
You should never assume responsibility for an accident, no matter how strongly you feel. If you feel at fault, there is a time and a place for saying you’re sorry.

NEVER SIGN ANYTHING AT THE SCENE
The only thing you should sign at the scene of an accident is a traffic citation. You are required by law to sign a traffic citation issued to you. In fact it is an arrestable offense if you refuse to sign a citation. However, do not sign anything else. Many insurance companies have agents who will come straight to the scene and offer you a settlement check or try to influence you to sign a release. DO NOT DO IT! There is no rush. Have an attorney look over the papers before you sign anything. Do not give any taped or written statements to any insurance people. Consult with your attorney first before you give a taped or written statement.

GO SEE A DOCTOR
The new PIP laws require you to seek emergency care within 14 days in order to be covered for your accident under your PIP insurance policy No matter how you feel, it is always best to have a physician check you out to determine if you have any injuries. In a surprising number of cases, what seems to be a minor injury in the hours following an accident blossoms into a major medical problem over the next several days or weeks.

NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Notify your insurance company regarding the incident so they can begin taking action on your claim.

CONSULT YOUR ATTORNEY
Accident victims who negotiate with insurance companies on their own behalf rarely receive full compensation for their injuries. Insurance companies have a bottom line that they are trying to protect, do not be fooled by their claims that you are in good hands. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to evaluate accident cases, protect a victim’s legal rights, and negotiate for full compensation from insurance companies. So, don’t hesitate to refer people you know who get injured to a personal injury attorney. An attorney should be happy to assist them. That’s our job!