Car accidents are unfortunately common, but it is still a shock when you are personally involved in one. Even though you probably feel scared and angry, avoid acting on strong emotion. Remaining level-headed will help you assess the situation accurately and report it to the police and your insurance company.
Remain at the Scene and Determine if Anyone is Injured
Whether you caused the accident or not, leaving the scene can subject you to civil and criminal sanctions. You don’t want the unpleasant surprise of having your driver’s license revoked for leaving the scene of what you assumed was a minor accident. After determining if you have injuries that require treatment, check the condition of your passengers. Use your cell phone to call 911 for transport to the nearest hospital if necessary. Do not move any passengers in your car who are unconscious or have neck pain as this could cause serious and irreversible harm.
Report All Accidents to the Police
Even if the accident appears to be a minor fender-bender, you should still call the police to report it. This creates an official report of the accident, which your insurance company and that of the other driver will request later. Be sure to get the full name of the responding police officer in case you need it.
Exchange Information with Other Parties
You should obtain the full name, address, date of birth, and insurance information of all other drivers involved in the accident. If anyone refuses to provide these details, they should be in the police report. The police should also assist you with moving your vehicle off the road to a safe location. If you need to wait for a tow truck to arrive, turn your emergency lights on and wait in the vehicle. In minor accidents, the officer may allow you to drive home and may also follow you home to ensure you make it safely.
Obtain Valuable Information and File a Claim
People naturally defend themselves and try to lay the blame for an accident on the other party. To avoid a situation where it is your word against someone else’s word, speak to witnesses on the scene and take as many photos as you can. You will want visual proof of the condition of your vehicle and the injuries you or your passengers sustained. Be sure to record the make and model of all cars involved and then contact your insurance company. Don’t hesitate to contact our law firm if you feel your settlement offer is unfair or you are considering filing a personal injury claim.