You’ve just been in a fender bender. Or worse. What should you be thinking about as you are getting out of your car? First, if you are still in a traffic lane and your car is drivable, drive it to a safe location near the accident scene, if possible. Make sure you can safely exit your car.
Five Critical Steps
1) Remain calm and secure the accident scene with flashers or flares.
2) Call for medical help, if necessary.
3) Only discuss the accident with the police; do not admit fault to anyone.
4) Photograph the scene.
5) Notify your insurance company if you are sued.
Auto Accident Checklist
After an accident, the scene may be chaotic. You may be confronting an angry or injured driver, damage to property or an emergency situation. Follow the six critical steps, if possible. You will also need to obtain other information. If you can do so at the scene, you will want to write down this information:
*Accident information. You should write down the date, time of day, location and weather conditions.
*Other driver’s information. If another driver was involved, you should get his or her name, address, date of birth, home telephone, driver’s license number and state, license expiration date, car make and model, license plate number and state, and vehicle identification number. If the driver had insurance, you should also get the driver’s insurance company and policy number, the company’s address and a phone number.
*Driver’s employer. The driver’s employer, if the driver was driving on the job. If the accident occurred while the driver was driving within the scope of employment, you will also want information about the employer. Obtain the employer’s name, address, telephone and a company contact.
*Vehicle owners. If the driver was not the owner of the car, you will also want to obtain the owner’s name, address, phone number and insurance information.
*Witnesses. If witnesses are at the scene, you will want to obtain their names and telephone numbers.
*Accident description. You will want to briefly describe how the accident occurred, the vehicle speeds, weather and road conditions, and the physical condition of the other driver’s car just prior to the accident. You can also draw a diagram of the accident on the other side of the Auto Accident Checklist sheet.
*Damage. You will want to describe the nature of the damage to your car and to the other driver’s car.
*Fault. If the other driver admitted fault, you should write down a quote of the words they used.
*Police officer’s report. You should record the name and badge of the officer at the scene. Ask the officer how to obtain a copy of the accident report.