One of the most overwhelming experiences in life is getting into a car accident. The possibility of injury, as well as the sheer suddenness of the collision, will likely incite panic for you and your passengers, which will only make matters worse. However, there are many things you must take care of following an accident that will ensure your safety and the safety of those involved, as well as help the recovery afterwards. Remaining calm and focused will help you do what needs to be done and will certainly help make a stressful situation a little more manageable.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Because there is so much to do following an accident, it is important to remember that you can accomplish tasks easier with a clear mind. Being calm as much as possible helps achieve that. Furthermore, properly preparing yourself for an accident will make it easier to remain calm. Here are a few tips on what to do after a car accident:
It is understandable to feel panic and anxiety immediately after an accident, but during an emergency, those who can remain calm can gather themselves and act quickly. And you may have to be quick and concise if the accident is severe enough.
Your adrenaline is likely very high at this moment, so take a few deep breaths to slow your heart rate or count backwards slowly from 10. Remember, you can only control what you can, so do one thing at a time and focus on what you need to do next.
Check Yourself and Others
Check if you are in pain, and check on your passengers. You may not feel any pain until long after impact, which is okay, because adrenaline likely is masking the pain. If you do feel immediate pain, keep your seat belt on, turn on your hazard lights, and wait until emergency responders arrive. If you feel capable, check on your passengers first and then the other car’s passengers, if possible. If there are any injuries, call 911 immediately or have someone in your party call.
Check the Situation
If the damage is significant, shut off the engine right away and leave your car where it is. With a risk of fluids leaking out, there is a small possibility a fire may start if the engine is running. Finally, if it is safe to do so, put out emergency flares and warning triangles. Do not get out of the car if on a busy street or highway.
If the damage is minor, the vehicle may be drivable, where you can move it to the shoulder where it is safe. Try not to block any traffic, as well, which will keep you safe from other cars. On the side of the road, you can check passengers and alert the first responders, as well as set out flares.
Call the Police
Whether the damage is severe or minor, it is always a good idea to notify the police. At least with the police at the scene, they can fill out a police report, as well as get contact information of those involved. The police may also be able to determine what happened and who is at fault. If the police do not come to the scene, which sometimes happens if no one is injured, be sure to go to the police station after the accident to file a report. A police report is helpful, if not necessary, when filing an insurance claim.
Get as much information at the scene as you can, including:
- The other driver’s contact, license, and insurance information.
- Any information of other vehicles, such as description, model, color, and year. You may be able to find this information on the other driver’s insurance card.
- Information of the scene itself, such as what time of day the accident occurred.
- Pictures or video of the damage of your vehicle and any other vehicle involved. Do not forget to take pictures of any debris on the ground, such as a torn bumper or shattered glass.
- Images from any cameras in the area, such as a red light or security cameras. If a business nearby has a security camera, be sure to get their contact information.
Get Medical Attention
Even if you do not feel hurt, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention and let a doctor check first. Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash or a concussion, may not show any symptoms until hours or days after the accident. Explain to the doctor the accident situation, and they can check you for possible injuries.
Seeking medical attention right away is imperative if you do need to file a claim for reimbursement. Many insurance companies will not cover a claim if their client waited too long to seek treatment and then claimed that they were injured.
Call the Insurance Company
Even if the other driver caused the accident, you should still call your own insurance company and explain to them the situation. Supply your insurance company with all the information you collected as well.
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, which means that in most car accident injury cases, regardless of fault, you must contact your own insurance to file a claim. Only in severe injury cases can you seek reimbursement from the other party.
Finally, notify your insurance if you are injured, and where you plan on getting medical attention. These will all be helpful when you try to recover the damages you sustained.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Your insurance company may not cover your damages or the medical bills of any of your passengers, which is a lot more common than you think. If this happens, contacting an experienced car accident lawyer is the next important step to take. Car accident lawyers are very knowledgeable about these types of cases and are especially good at dealing with insurance companies, who are notorious for not paying claims.
Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Those Injured by Negligent and Reckless Drivers
Even if there were minor damages, car accidents require a calm mind to ensure the matter does not get worse. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to reimbursement for your damages. You are urged to contact the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our skilled legal team will help you and your family get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.