Auto accidents create concern, anxiety and shock for all involved and may inhibit clear thought at the moment. Accidents happen to the best of drivers; therefore, you should be prepared to take appropriate action. Many legal problems arising from accidents could be avoided or lessened if the persons involved knew in advance what to do.
AT THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT
- Stop – State law requires that when the driver of a vehicle is involved in an accident where a person is injured or property damage is done, that person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident, or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
- Assist The Injured – After stopping your care, check for injured persons. If someone is injured or complains of injury, call 911 immediately.
- State law requires you to render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, of if such carrying is requested by the injured person. However, do not move the injured person unless you know what you are doing. Good intentions on your part may result in further injury to the victim.
- Protect The Scene – Take all possible precautions to prevent further accidents or injuries. Put on your hazard lights to warn approaching traffic and, if available, deploy flares or reflectors. If no flares or reflectors are available, use a flashlight.
- Call The Police – In every instance you should call a police agency even when it appears there is no injury or little property damage. The official police report may greatly assist you later should a dispute arise.
- Identify The Other Driver – Obtain the other driver’s name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he is driving, and request that he show you his driver’s license. If the other driver shows signs of intoxication, you may request that the police test the driver’s sobriety.
- Comments – Cooperate with the police and emergency personnel. You must give, upon request, your driver’s license or permit and insurance information to any police officer or investigator at the scene of the accident. Only speak to the investigating officer about the facts of the accident and to medical providers about injuries sustained. Make no other statements to anyone else. Write down any statements you hear made by the other driver or passenger(s).
- Witnesses – Obtain the name, address and phone number of all witnesses as soon as you can – both eyewitnesses and all others who might have some information about surrounding circumstances of the accident.
- Fill Out Accident Information Form and Diagram – If circumstances permit, make your own written notes on all significant circumstances concerning the accident. If there are skid marks, note them along with the estimate of their length. (See pamphlet back)
- When To Leave The Scene – Cooperate with the police and emergency medical personnel; go to the hospital if it is recommended. Unless your injuries require you to do otherwise, do not leave the scene of the accident until you have assisted the injured, protected the scene, called an officer and assisted him, identified the other driver, obtained witness information and filled out the accident information form and diagram on the back of this pamphlet.
AFTER THE ACCIDENT
- Seek Medical Care Immediately – If you are injured, seek medical care right away. Do not wait. Some injuries may not appear until several hours after the initial trauma. If this is the case, seek medical care at once and follow the doctor’s advice.
- Inform Insurance Company – Make a complete report to your insurance company. Failure to make a prompt and correct report may affect your rights.
- Recorded Statements And Releases – Do not give a recorded statement to the adverse insurance company or to the other driver. Do not sign any type of release from the adverse insurance company without first having the document reviewed by an attorney.
- Photographs – Take photographs of the damage to your car and if possible, damage done to the other car. If you have visible injuries such as cuts, swelling, burn marks, etc., take photographs as soon as practicable.
- Call Your Lawyer – The insurance company will not protect your rights. Set an appointment with a qualified civil trial attorney to learn about your rights.
Accident Insurance Guide
Types of Auto Insurance Coverage