Here are some basic rules to follow immediately after getting into an accident. We hope you never need it, but it is worth printing this page to keep handy in your glove box in case you do.
Assess whether or not you need to pull your car out of traffic for your safety or the safety of your passengers.
Stay calm and safe from any oncoming traffic. Make sure no one is injured.
Do not assume that you are fine. Let someone know you are injured or get to a hospital or doctor if you have any doubt at all that you might be hurt.
If someone is hurt, call emergency assistance immediately.
Get the names and phone numbers of witnesses before they leave the scene.
Get the name and department of the police officer on the scene.
In the case of a hit and run, jot down any details that you have. This includes any description of the vehicle and driver involved. Even partial information can be useful.
Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. Be sure to include drivers’ names, phone numbers, license plates, and descriptions of the vehicles involved.
Be sure your notes are extensive enough to prove useful later. In an accident involving a complicated intersection or multiple vehicles, it is not uncommon to recreate the scene by using a diagram of which car was where.
Most experts recommend discussing the accident with no one except the police or your insurance company. Do not admit fault or assess blame; it’s very human to feel at fault after an accident, even if you are not at fault legally! Also do not accept or attempt to accept a settlement before speaking to your insurance company.
If available use a camera or cell phone camera to take pictures of the accident scene and any vehicle or property damage for your records. Be sensitive to priorities – people first, documentation second.
File an accident report. That means calling the police, your insurance company, and or your local agent.
Note the date, time, and location the accident occurred as well as the weather during the accident.
Call us or your insurance company immediately. Police reports take time to file, and speedy claims are expedited by your ability to provide information as quickly and accurately as possible.
Remember that you may not be thinking clearly. If the police officer is still at the scene, don’t hesitate to put him or her on the phone to your insurance company, in order to better describe the accident that just occurred.