The scene of an accident can get chaotic quickly. Your recollection of events might get foggy. Referring to this checklist will benefit you if you’re in an accident.
Stay at the scene
You don’t want to be charged with a hit-and-run. Stay there and give appropriate contact and insurance information to other motorists and/or the police.
Check for injuries
If it appears as if anybody has been hurt, let the dispatcher know that when you call 911. Along with police, they’ll dispatch an ambulance.
Don’t move the vehicles
Unless you’re creating a safety hazard, don’t move the vehicles from where they came to rest. This will allow police to make a more accurate assessment of what happened.
Don’t discuss fault at the scene. You don’t know how what you say might be understood. If the accident was your fault, don’t admit fault to the investigating officer.
If you’re not injured and it’s safe, take photos of the scene and the vehicles. You might need those photos in the future.
If you’re hurt
If you’re hurt, there are legal reasons for getting immediate medical attention. Get transported to the nearest emergency room by ambulance. Paramedics and hospital personnel will document injuries. Don’t worry about the cost. That’s why you have insurance.
Contact your insurer
Notify your insurer that you were in an accident as soon as possible. Don’t delay on this. A significant delay can cause very significant insurance problems.
Don’t talk to the other side
You must cooperate with your own insurer, but the law doesn’t require you to talk with somebody else’s insurer. Never give tape recorded or written statements to them. Tell them to talk with your attorney. You’ll never hear from them again.
Don’t plead guilty
Don’t go to traffic court without an attorney and plead guilty. That guilty plea might be used against you in an injury case in the future.
See a lawyer
If injured, see an injury lawyer. If ticketed, see a traffic lawyer. Don’t enter either world alone.
Keep a copy of this checklist in your car. You don’t want to be in an accident, but you might need it.