1. Safety: Make sure that you and your passengers are not injured. If an injury occurred, call 911 to report the injuries. If there is serious injury or major damage, do not move the vehicles. Wait until the police arrive so they can properly document the scene. This will help the police and investigators determine who is at fault if there is any question of liability. If the accident is minor, move the vehicle to the side of the road to a safe location. Do not get out of the vehicle unless it is safe. Stay in the vehicle if you are injured or surrounded by moving traffic. What seems like a minor injury could be much worse than it seems and trying to move could make things worse. Your best bet is to stay in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazards while waiting for help to arrive.
2. Call the police: Don’t ever let anyone at the scene try to convince you otherwise. A police report will be very important alter on. Get the police report along with the name and number of the reporting officer. In some cases of minor crashes, the police will not respond unless there are serious injuries or property damage; if that is the case, you will need to file an accident report at the local police station as soon as possible.
3. Exchanging Information: Get the other drivers name, phone number, insurance company, policy number, drivers license number, plate number, and address. Note the make and model of the other vehicle including color and visible damages.
4. Witnesses: Get the name and contact information of any witness that saw the accident. Do this as quickly as possible so you can get as many witness testimonies before they leave the scene. Ask them to give a statement to the police. If they are in a hurry to leave, contact them later to get their testimony.
5. Photographs: Take photographs of the entire scene as well as the damages done to each vehicle. Get a photo of the license plate number of the other vehicle, along with a picture of the other driver. It might be helpful to take pictures of the surrounding area as well. This can be helpful to your insurance company and attorneys during the future proceedings.
6. Do not discuss fault: Never admit that the accident is your fault to the other drivers or the police. Do not even say that you are sorry, it could make you look guilty even if you are not at fault; it could be used against you later.
7. Personal records: Make a written record of all the information that you gathered at the scene of the accident. Write down everything you remember. How the accident happened, what the road conditions were like, weather, and make a diagram if possible. This will help later while you are filing a claim with your insurance company. It will also be helpful to your attorney.
8. File a claim: File a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. You should already be aware of what your insurance policy covers, so you won’t have to worry about what charges have to come out of your pocket, such as towing from the scene of the accident.
9. Contact the DMV: The DMV requires all drivers to file a report of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. For more information, visit the DMV Website.
10. Protect your rights: Contact Phillips and Lyon immediately. There will be questions such as: How am I going to pay for my medical expenses, and what to do about your damaged vehicle, or replacing a damaged vehicle? An experienced attorney can help you through these processes while protecting your legal rights. The insurance company will have their own attorneys who will have their best interest in mind, not yours. It will be important to have a defender on your side.