What to do after an auto accident

Auto accidents are sudden and even the most careful drivers may be involved. The ugly truth is that most of us will be involved in an auto accident at some point in our lives. Even if you are not injured, there are certain things that you should and should not do.

Stay at the Scene

If you are in an accident involving bodily injury or substantial damage to property, do not leave the scene until the police tell you to do so. If you are unsure whether the damage or injury is “substantial”, stay there and let the police decide. Leaving the scene can result in driver’s license sanctions and possibly criminal charges.

If you are on the roadway, turn your flashers on, or use flares to warn forthcoming traffic.

Do not Admit Fault

Even if you think you are at fault, do not admit liability. There may be factors you are not aware of that played a role in the accident which could determine the other driver was more at fault than you. Therefore, avoid discussing who is at fault in the accident.

Get Relevant Information - In any accident, you should obtain the following information:

  • The other driver: Name, address, driver’s license number, auto insurance information and license plate number.
  • Witnesses: Names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
  • Police officers:  Ask the police officer(s) who investigate the traffic scene to provide you with a business card and an “incident number”.
  • The location:  You may wish to take notes about and/or pictures where the auto accident happened; the road conditions, the weather, speed limits, traffic control devices and the lighting.
  • The accident:  If possible take notes about how the accident occurred, such as what the vehicles were doing at the time of the crash and the direction of travel of the vehicles involved.

Be aware that if litigation results from the accident, you may have to share your notes with the all parties involved in the suit.

Accept Medical Treatment or See a Doctor as Quickly as Possible (If you are Injured) - Don’t take chances with your health. If there is a possibility you may have been injured in the accident, accept medical treatment. It is better to be safe than sorry.