You had a car accident in New Jersey. What information do you need to exchange?
It almost happens like a flashing GAME OVER video game. Motorists drive by, each trying to reach their destination in time, until they suddenly collide and everything literally comes to a halt.
They stop and make sure that themselves and the passengers are not too injured. They stay at the scene, get out of their car and walk towards the other driver or drivers involved.
What happens next? When the trauma of a car accident hits and brains are confused, the methodical and necessary next steps can be forgotten – and it can come back to haunt a motorist.
As sad as it sounds, everyone should be prepared for this eventuality, according to Christine O’Brien, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey, because on an annual basis, 1 in 5 drivers will be involved in some sort of scratch. .
“Try to stay calm and be in the moment of the incident,” O’Brien said. “Stop thinking about where you are trying to reach, who you should call next, etc.”
As O’Brien says, plans can be changed and meetings can be postponed, so in the majority of cases care should be taken to call the police so that an official report can be filed.
It takes even more of the day, she said, but it ends up being worth everyone’s time.
“It ultimately prevents the ‘he said, she said,’ that no matter how bad the accident was or how clearly you know who was at fault, the police report will better dictate who was at fault” , O’Brien said. .
If the parties mutually decide not to file a police report, O’Brien suggests they at least take pictures of their and each other’s cars, as well as road signs and surroundings.
Some insurers may even allow their policyholders to upload these photos directly to the company’s app, to provide as accurate a real-time portrait as possible.
By the way, it’s illegal to drive in New Jersey without having auto insurance, but coverage for law-abiding citizens usually includes a run-in with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
And those who are concerned that their data will fall into the wrong hands at the scene of the accident and end up being used for malicious purposes should remember that insurance companies keep information such as vehicle registration, driver’s license number and home address on file.
“If you are nervous about letting the person you have an accident with, who is a complete stranger, (have) your personal information, just exchange your insurance information so that the claim can be filed and processed in consequence,” O’ says Brien.
So O’Brien’s advice is to keep that insurance card handy and don’t hesitate to share it.
“Even a little bumper can ruffle your feathers for the day, but even a little bumper is worth exchanging information with other drivers and those involved,” she said.
Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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