Being involved in an auto collision can be a difficult experience. Despite driving defensively, taking driver education courses and preparing for stressful driving situations, vehicle collisions still occur.
What do you do if you are involved in a collision? The best defense to avoid any problems after a crash is to be prepared. Keeping a pen and paper, disposable camera or cell phone camera and copy of your insurance card easily accessible will help keep you organized and decrease stress after a collision.
After stopping your vehicle, all motorists involved in an auto crash should follow these steps:
- Assist the injured. Check with those involved in the collision to determine if there are any injuries. If medical attention is needed, call 9-1-1. If medical attention is not needed, make sure you are not in any danger at the roadside.
- Take precautions at the scene. Before taking time to exchange information, get to a safe place. If there are no injuries and the vehicle is drivable, safely move to the right or left emergency lane. Some state laws require drivable vehicles to be removed from the roadway to avoid traffic congestion. Turn on your hazards lights and set out warning flares or reflective triangles. Do not leave the scene of the crash, but find a safe place to remain until emergency services arrive.
- Notify the police and submit a report. The law requires you to notify the police. No matter what the other party says, call the police and file a report. If the police do not come to the scene, file a report with a local or state police department. Having a report on file will help later if a liability claim is filed. Make sure the police accurately record your version of the crash.
- Document the scene and exchange information. It is important to exchange information with all parties involved in the crash, including witnesses. Having this on file will help complete any future paperwork or address potential problems.
You should obtain the following:
- Addresses/e-mail addresses/phone numbers.
- Vehicle information including make, model, and year for all cars involved.
- Vehicle identification/license plate numbers.
- Driver’s license numbers.
- Insurance companies and policy numbers.
- Take photos of the location, people involved and damage to the vehicles.
- Notify your insurance company. You will need to notify your insurance company following a crash to start the proper claim filing. Having proof of insurance in your vehicle is required by law and makes filling a claim easier. Notifying your insurance company will protect your rights under your policy of insurance.
Never allow yourself to be pressured into admitting fault or giving an opinion about the cause of the crash. If you wish, you can consult with an attorney before giving a statement.
If you are injured through the fault of the other driver, call Donovan & Morello, LLP for a free consultation.