Do not leave the
scene. If you leave
the scene of an automobile accident, you may be criminally prosecuted.
2. Help the injured. If someone has been injured in the accident, you should call
for paramedics and assist them to the extent you are qualified.
When calling for the ambulance, be prepared to give an accurate
location of the accident and assessment of the number of individuals
3. Avoid additional collisions. Make
sure your vehicle is not presenting a hazard to other motorists.
It should be moved so that it is not obstructing traffic, if
possible. You can further
notify oncoming traffic to proceed with caution by setting out flares,
turning on your hazard lights, and raising the hood and trunk of your
4. Notify the police. Typically the police will prepare a report that contains
various information concerning the accident and the parties involved.
5. Do not admit liability.
You should not admit responsibility for the accident to the other
drivers, passengers, or to the police for that matter.
You may convey facts concerning how the incident
occurred; however, responsibility (or liability) for the accident is a
legal matter that is not always readily and easily ascertainable.
Judgment as to who was at fault should be reserved for a later
6. Obtain information. You should get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of
any individuals involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses to the
accident. You should also
obtain the name of the insurance company and policy number of the other
drivers involved. If
possible, you may take photographs to document the accident scene
including skid marks, road obstructions, and damage to the vehicles.
7. File an accident
report. In many jurisdictions, one must file an accident
report within a specified period of time after the accident. You may
ask the officers at the scene or consult an attorney to advise you as to
whether the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred requires that you
file a report.
8. Notify your
insurance company. If
you do not give your insurance company prompt notice, your policy may
provide that the insurance company may deny coverage for your claim.
Accordingly, you should give your insurance company notice by way of
telephone and by written notice that provides you a means of proving such
notice was given, such as by facsimile or by certified mail.
You should provide your insurance company with all information they
request concerning the facts of the accident.
9. Consult a
doctor if you have been injured. If you believe that you may have been injured in the
accident, you should consult a doctor.
Some injuries may not manifest themselves until some period of time
after the accident; therefore, the mere fact that you do not immediately
feel as though you have been injured does not necessarily mean that no
injury has occurred. You
should consult your insurance agent to see if the cost of seeing a doctor
in connection with the accident is covered by your insurance policy.
You should not settle your claims for injuries arising from the
accident until you have been advised by your doctor as to the full extent
of your injuries.
10. Contact your attorney. You should consult your attorney promptly to be advised as to
your legal rights. you have a two-year statute of limitation period in which
you must file a lawsuit or be forever barred from bringing such a claim.
Fact-sensitive exceptions to this rule may apply; therefore, an attorney
consulted as soon as possible. Furthermore, by promptly
notifying your attorney, your attorney may timely investigate the facts
surrounding your accident while the events are fresh in witnesses' minds,
and the evidence is capable of being documented
by way of photograph or otherwise.