Any vehicle accident, large or small, can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. It is easy to become confused after an accident when emotions are running high, traffic continues to flow and possible injuries may require medical attention. Yet, at the time of the accident, it is extremely important to protect your safety and collect the information necessary to preserve your legal rights.
To make the process as easy as possible, we’ve put together a short, simple list of things to do in the case of an accident. Read it over now, then print it out and keep a copy in your car for reference.Also remember to keep pens, paper, a camera and a first aid kit in your car to use in case of an accident.
Stay Calm and Keep Safety First
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If you believe medical attention is necessary, call 911 immediately.
Next, make sure your surroundings are safe. If traffic poses a danger, move to a safe location nearby, but take care not to leave the scene of the accident.
Call the Police to File an Accident Report
When the police respond to an accident scene, they file an accident report outlining their assessment of the scene. The report will contain many important details, including the time, date and location of the accident, a description of the accident, and information about the drivers and witnesses involved. By filing a report, you are creating a document that insurance companies, lawyers, and courts can use to get information about your accident.
Keep Your Statements Minimal and Polite
Accidents are stressful. This makes it easy to accuse others of making mistakes or admit to fault or liability. Because no one person has all the information as to what caused the accident, it is best to remain polite and keep discussion of the accident to a minimum. Do not admit any fault or liability. At the scene, discuss accident details only with the officer making the accident report.
Even if an officer files an accident report, be sure to gather information for your records about the other driver, any witnesses, and the vehicles involved. You will need:
- Names of Drivers and Witnesses
- Addresses of Drivers and Witnesses
- Phone numbers of Drivers and Witnesses
- Insurance Carrier and Policy Number
- Make, Model, and License Number of Vehicles
- After you’ve collected this basic information and shared your own, use the camera in your car or on your cell phone take pictures of any damage to the vehicles and of the scene of the accident.
- Make Some Calls
After the accident report has been filed and you are able to leave the scene, follow up with your insurance agent. Many vehicle accident related injuries are not immediately noticeable, so schedule an appointment with you doctor for a full examination to be sure. If you have sustained injuries, call a personal injury firm that focuses on vehicle accidents, like Wild Sky Law Group at (425) 646-2773.