Nobody plans on getting into a New Jersey car accident. However, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, there are approximately 270,000 car accidents in the state each year. Of those, a driver or passenger is injured in over 60,000 accidents. In a state with a population of less than 9 million, this is a particularly startling statistic.
Given the fact that many New Jersey residents will be involved in a car accident at some point in their life, it is worth being prepared. The moments after an accident can be a blur, and motorists will benefit from committing a few important steps to memory. Better yet, the list below can be printed out and placed in the glovebox.
- Check for injuries – Immediately after an accident, motorists should check to see if they are injured. Motorists should be careful just because there are no visible injuries does not mean that there was no damage caused by the accident.
- Do not admit fault – It is natural to speak to the other motorists involved in the collision; however, resist admitting fault or apologizing for your driving. It will ultimately be up to a judge or jury to determine who was at fault, and your statement may be used against you.
- Keep your cool – Some drivers get angry after an accident. Motorists should do everything they can to avoid escalating the situation.
- Exchange information – New Jersey law requires motorists who are involved in an accident remain at the scene and exchange information, including name, address, contact information, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
- Document the scene – When possible, motorists should photograph the scene and talk with any witnesses. While police officers should do this, there is no guarantee that they will, and this information could be critical to a subsequent New Jersey car accident lawsuit.
- Call the police – The law in New Jersey requires that motorists call the police if they were in an accident resulting in injuries or property damage. The responding police officer should complete a police report, which can be helpful to memorialize what happened.