A car accident can happen to anyone at anytime, often through no fault of your own
As long as there are reckless, careless and inattentive drivers, those who drive drunk and drivers who are not sure of the rules of the road, there will be car accidents.
Even if there are no injuries, coping with a car accident is a frustrating, difficult ordeal. Because it is difficult to keep a clear head during the stress of a car accident, we suggest you download and keep our Auto Accident Checklist in your glove compartment.
- Get medical help if anyone is injured. Make sure you and your passengers are okay and, if possible, check with the driver of the other car. Call 911 immediately if anyone is hurt. If you need to be taken to a hospital by ambulance, try to take a moment to notice the things around you, like the license plate of the other car, or how many people were in the vehicle, or just the overall state of the situation.
- If no one is hurt, try to get out of traffic. Many people are injured after accidents when they are struck by other vehicles that don't see the stopped cars in the road.
- Look around for important details about the accident. First note the license plate of the other driver in case he decides to flee the scene. Are there any witnesses to the accident? You will want to point them out to police. Look for things such as skid marks, broken glass, car parts, etc. These can be important evidence for police who are investigating. Sketch the accident scene if you can.
- Exchange information with all drivers but do not discuss the accident with them. Get the information you need from the driver who hit you and any other drivers involved in the accident. Ask for their name, address, phone numbers, insurance company, policy number and their agent.
- Get contact information for any passengers and witnesses. Ask them for their names, address, and phone numbers. Check with all bystanders because if someone did see the accident happen, their testimony can be extremely valuable if the parties disagree about what happened
- Talk with the police officer. Tell him or her everything you know about the auto accident. However, don't indicate you are at fault, even if you believe you are. After an investigation, you may find that you were not responsible for the accident after all.
- Take photos of the scene with a camera or cell phone. (It is a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment.) Photograph everything you can: the scene, damage to all vehicles, the road or intersection, relevant road signs, road conditions, the people in the other vehicles, and other things that could have influenced the accident. Pictures show things that words can't and can also prove any untruths told by the other drivers.
- Seek medical attention even if it seems you and your passengers are not injured. You may be suffering from shock or even an internal injury that is undetected.
- Get a copy of the accident report. If the police or sheriff's department arrived at the scene, a report of the accident will be made available. Check for any errors or omissions of facts. If you hire an attorney, he or she will be able to obtain this for you or you can request it yourself from the sheriff or police department that made the report at the scene.
- Talk to a qualified auto accident lawyer in your area. A free consultation could help direct you as to the best course of action for your situation.
While we hope you won't need to use it, we encourage you to download our "Auto Accident Checklist" and keep it in your glove compartment along with your vehicle registration and insurance information.