Basic Steps to Help You Recover Damages from a Motor Vehicle Accident

A Chevrolet Malibu involved in a rollover crash

A Chevrolet Malibu involved in a rollover crash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A motor vehicle accident can shake up even an experienced driver. Staying calm and following a few basic steps can help you collect insurance claims or file a personal injury lawsuit if it comes to that.

First, stay at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene could result in penalties, including suspension of your driver’s license, and could definitely hurt your insurance claims or lawsuit. (1)

In New Jersey, motorists are required to exchange information, including names and contact information, driver’s license numbers, insurance information for all motorists involved, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved. Additionally, drivers are required to file a report with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission if a police report has not been filed. (1)

Immediately after an accident, make sure everyone involved is okay. The severity of injuries does not always equate to the seriousness of the accident. People can walk away from crashes where cars are totaled or suffer long-lasting injuries from minor collisions. If the accident does result in injuries, a call to 9-1-1 seeking emergency medical attention may be necessary. The next step would be to call the local police and your insurance company. (2)

Once the police arrive on the scene, they usually will prepare and file a report detailing identities of all persons involved; conditions surrounding the accident, including road and weather conditions; statements from witnesses, if available; and notations on whether or not any traffic laws had been violated. (3) Obtain a copy of this report as it could play an integral part in any insurance claim or lawsuit that may follow.

As for your part, stick to the facts and avoid laying or accepting blame. It is the job of the police and insurance companies to determine fault. (4)

If you are injured in an accident, maintain documentation of all injuries and treatments you receive. Head and neck, facial, back and psychological injuries are the most common injuries to result from motor vehicle accidents. Some of these can have long-lasting effects requiring extensive medical treatment. (5)

To support your case, keep records of all medical treatment received, including emergency room visits, hospital stays, primary physician visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatments. Your records should include dates and times of treatments, length of stays and/or treatments, and costs. If possible, take pictures of your injuries and keep the pictures with your medical records. (3)

Should your injuries cause you to miss work, you may be entitled to recover lost wages provided you have records of your earnings for the time missed, such as bank statements, pay stubs and other financial statements. (3)

If you have additional questions or need assistance with recovery following a car accident or other motor vehicle accident in Hunterdon County or within the State of New Jersey, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Ragland Law Firm stand ready to serve you. Ragland Law Firm is conveniently located in the heart of Hunterdon County on Route 22 on the westbound side, just minutes from Clinton, NJ, Route 31, and Interstate 78.

(1) http://www.dmv.com/nj/new-jersey/auto-accidents
(2) http://articles.cnn.com/2008-05-09/living/car.accident_1_accidents-insurance-agent-exchange-insurance-information?_s=PM:LIVING
(3) http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/accidents/car-accidents/checklist-records-gather-af
(4) http://www.dmv.org/insurance/first-steps-following-a-personal-injury-auto-accident.php

(5) http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/car-accident-injuries.html

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