Your child calls and tells you the unthinkable – they were entangled in an accident that could’ve potentially resulted in someone’s serious injury or death. After you’ve taken a deep breath, attempted to console them, and attempted to calm the both of you down, now what? According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers in their late teens (ages 16 to 19) face the greatest risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents, and consequently, are usually the least prepared of what to do in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident.
Likewise, they are three times more likely to be subject to fatality for every mile per hour driven than drivers aged 20 or older. With the high gravitas, risk factors, and stakes at play, what should you do? Read on to learn the following four steps you and your teen should take in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. To discuss specific legal issues, contact a New Jersey car accident lawyer directly.
1. Make Some Calls
First and foremost, if your teen hasn’t yet called them, call 911 to send the appropriate authorities to the scene of the accident. Even if no serious injuries or deaths occurred, you are legally required to report an accident under New Jersey law. After that call, consult your insurance agent for advice, and if your teen’s car is unsafe to drive, call a tow service to remove the vehicle from the scene.
If you receive any calls from the other party’s attorney or insurance company, keep your responses as vague and nondescript as possible. Likewise, do not sign any paperwork from the other party’s insurance company or attorney until you can arrange a consultation call with your insurer and an attorney.
2. Take Some Notes
Your teen will likely be understandably distressed after an accident, but you must try to get them to a place of enough composure to document everything. If possible, have them record video or photographic evidence of the crash. Tell them to exchange names, contact information, and insurance credentials with the other driver(s). Tell them to jot down notes of the accident on their phone, concurrently jot your detail notes down at the same time and obtain a copy of the accident report from the responding officer.
If they were unable to obtain a copy right away, then you should fill out this form and send it to state police to retroactively request an accident report. Likewise, you and your teen should determine what type of insurance claim to make with the help of a car accident lawyer. Proceeding into insurance negotiations and potential litigation, it’s important that you have the right legal guidance and counsel.
3. Get Them to A Safe Place
Physically and mentally. Try your best to console and calm your teen. If the car is still in working condition, tell them to pull over out of the flow of traffic. Make sure they have the medical attention they need, either from emergency workers or by heading to the emergency room. Remind them that they don’t have to make any insurance negotiation themselves and that you, your insurer, and if necessary, an attorney will be by their side every step of the way.
4. Take Initiative and Speak with a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer
You shouldn’t leave your teen living in fear of an accident, but it’s good to prepare your teen for what to do in case an emergency ever happens. Moreover, if necessary, don’t hesitate to speak to an attorney versed in both personal injury and criminal defense cases. If you’re based in Freehold or greater New Jersey, the Lomurro Law team has that multifaceted experience you can count on.
Get in touch with one of our experienced attorneys today and arrange a free initial consultation to learn more.