It’s the New Year, which means that everyone is getting back to work and back to their day-to-day business after a (hopefully) relaxing holiday season. With all the bustle of people resuming their routines—not to mention the winter driving conditions—the risk of getting into a car accident may well increase in the coming weeks and months. How can you resolve to drive more safely this year, and how would you react if you were involved in a car accident today? This blog post will seek to provide some pointers to help prepare you for any driving mishaps that might befall you in 2019.
Car Accidents in 2019
First, make a New Year’s resolution to adopt some safer driving habits. For most drivers, the number one bad habit to drop is using cellphones in the car. In New Jersey, it is illegal for people operating moving motor vehicles to use wireless telephones, unless their cellphones are set up to be hands-free. That means no texting, no checking email or Snapchat in the car, and no talking on a phone unless you have a hands-free setup. Failure to comply with these rules will net you a $200 to $400 fine for your first offense, and more for subsequent offenses. So, put the cellphone away. At a minimum, you will keep yourself in the clear for costly tickets. At most, you might keep yourself out of a severe car accident in NJ. Indeed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving causes 430,000 car accidents each year—3,000 of which are fatal. Simply putting your phone in your pocket could be the difference between a safe trip, and a fatal car accident in NJ.
Second, know how to react if you are involved in a car accident. Even a minor fender bender will likely send your adrenaline into overdrive and might even put you into a state of shock. Knowing exactly how you are supposed to respond to this kind of situation can do wonders to keep you both calm and safe. If possible, get your vehicle out of the line of traffic, off to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot. Put on your hazard lights and call 911. If you fear that you or someone else may have been injured in the accident, the police call is especially imperative. Even if the accident was relatively minor though, with no injuries and little visible damage, it’s still a good idea to get a police officer to the scene. That way, you can file a police report detailing the events that led up to the crash. Having a record of this information from an impartial third party may be important for any insurance claims or legal claims that may arise because of the accident. Simply put, your car accident lawyer will be glad you took this step.
Once you’ve made the 911 call, get out of the vehicle and communicate with the other driver(s) involved in the car accident. Has anyone been hurt? Is there anything you can do to help one another? Ideally, everyone will be safe and unharmed, meaning you can focus on surveying the damage to your respective vehicles and exchanging insurance information. Even if your car looks fine, don’t drive off without getting the other driver’s insurance information. You may be entitled to have some of your car repairs paid for by the other driver’s insurance company, but you can’t collect that money if you don’t know who the other driver is or who insures them. Also, take photographs of the vehicles and accident scene, and collect contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Your car accident lawyer may be able to use these details as evidence to help you get a better settlement.
Call Corradino & Papa, LLC
Finally, once you get home, do a Google search for “car accident lawyers near me.” If you are looking for a car accident lawyer in NJ or NYC, our team at Corradino & Papa, LLC are happy to help. Contact us to discuss your matter and determine what your options might be for next steps.