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Check yourself for injuries. If you suffered significant or serious injuries, try not to move, and wait for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene. If you are injured and able, call 911 or ask someone else to do so.
Check on the well-being of your passengers. If you can do so, and not too injured to move, check on the other passengers in your car. If anyone is injured, call 911 and get on the phone with emergency services or dispatch for first responders, or ask someone else to call for help.
Get to safety. If it is safe to do so and your car is causing a hazard where it is located, move your vehicle to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave the vehicle where it is and get yourself to safety.
Turn on your hazard lights.
Do not leave the scene of the accident.
Do not agree not to call the authorities.
Call the police. Calling the police is important and in some states, it is legally required. The police officer will likely respond to the accident scene, investigate the collision, obtain available witness statements, and document the collision and accident scene. If police did not come to the accident scene, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report of the accident yourself.
Wait for help.
Get driver’s name and address.
Get driver’s insurance company name and policy information.
You may need to report the accident to the DMV.
Get statements and contact information from any witnesses. Key observations from independent witnesses are important to any claim. Sometimes, the police investigation does not obtain names and contact information of those who did witness the accident. Ask for names, phone numbers and addresses of those who may have witnessed the events leading up to and including the collision. This includes passengers in other vehicles, as well as other drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians passing by.
Use your smartphone to take photographs of damage to all vehicles. If able, document the collision by taking pictures of your vehicle’s damage, as well as other vehicle involved in the collision, from different angles. Make sure you get documentation of damage to all cars and structures involved in the collision.
Use your smartphone to take photographs of the accident scene. Also, take pictures of the accident scene, from as many directions and angles as possible. Make sure to take photographs of key markings on the road, on land, and other physical damage caused by the collision.
To read Part Two, click here.
David M. Cedar, Esquire is the co-founder of Williams Cedar, LLC and was appointed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney (2001) an honor awarded to less than two percent of all attorneys in the State of New Jersey. David has been prosecuting claims on behalf of victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for over 25 years. For more information, call our personal injury lawyers at 856-470-9777 or 215-557-0099. You may also submit an online inquiry.