The aftermath of a car accident can be confusing and upsetting, not to mention painful. Ironically, at a time when all you want to do is be still and rest, you have many things to take care of related to the accident.
One of the most critical responsibilities is figuring out how to pay for your injuries, the injuries of your passengers and any damage to your vehicle. The cost of an accident with injuries can reach thousands of dollars. In fact, in the U.S., the annual cost of traffic accidents reaches over $230 billion. Your actions immediately following an accident can help you pursue the compensation you need for the most complete recovery possible.
Recovering physically and financially
The first step in recovering the cost of an accident is to contact your insurer. New Jersey is a no-fault state, but you should understand the specific laws that apply to your coverage. The time to read and review your insurance policy is not the day after your accident. Knowing what your policy contains and excludes is essential from the moment you purchase the policy. In this way, you will know when the insurer is unfairly denying your deserved compensation.
You may wish to seek legal counsel even before you consult with your insurer. Having a skilled attorney represent your cause can improve your chances of meeting your goals. The right legal professional will have experience fighting for compensation based on these and other factors:
- The cost of property damage
- Your medical bills, including the cost of emergency responders, transportation to the hospital and emergency room expenses
- Injuries others in your vehicle may have suffered
- Long-term care for severe injuries
- Rehabilitation, therapy and other treatment
- Lost wages from time you missed at work
- The value of your pain and suffering
- The losses you face if a loved one died in the accident
Of course, many variables affect the total cost of your accident, including the severity of your injuries, the value of your vehicle and how many people were in your car. You will want to be cautious if your insurer or the other driver wants to negotiate a settlement. It is very difficult to know the total value of your injuries and losses, and settling too quickly may leave you unprepared if your injuries require further treatment in the future. Your legal advocate can be of assistance during negotiations.