Unfortunately, car crashes are an almost routine part of American life. Whether a minor fender bender or a major accident resulting in injuries, you need to take the appropriate steps immediately afterward. If you fail to do so, your life could become quite difficult in the following months.
FindLaw explains that the most important thing you should do following an accident is to leave your car where it is, even if it presents a traffic hazard. Law enforcement officers need to know the exact location where each vehicle ended up so as to make an accurate accident report. In addition, if you leave without police permission, you could face charges of hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident.
Call for help
Call 911 on your cellphone immediately and request both law enforcement and emergency medical help, even if you are unsure if anyone sustained an injury or the extent thereof.
Exchange driver information
Exchange the following information with all other drivers:
- Name, address, phone number and email address
- Driver’s license state and number
- License plate state and number
- Auto insurance company name and contact information
Again using your cellphone, take pictures of the following for every vehicle involved, including yours:
- Make, model and color
- License plate
- Location and type of all prior damage
- Location and type of new damage
Make a police report
Once officers arrive, jot down their names and badge numbers and tell them you want to make a police report. Answer their questions honestly, but briefly. Never say or indicate that you think you may have caused or contributed to the accident. Be sure to ask them when and how you can obtain a copy of their report.
By following the above steps even before calling your own insurance company to report the accident, you have already gone a long way to minimize any liability you may face if someone sues you.