Written by steve on January 12th, 2016
The day after Christmas a teenage client was in a car accident in which he collided with another car. It was dark and rainy and he was obviously shaken up, but his first instincts to remain at the scene and move his car out of the traffic flow were good. In hindsight, however, this was a valuable learning experience for him that confirms how important it is to know in advance what to do so that you are not operating on instinct or guesswork alone, especially when your head may not be clear.
Here is an accident checklist to review and then keep in your glove compartment:
Remain at the scene! Move your car if still operable to a safe place out of the flow of traffic.
Do not get out of your car until you’re sure it’s safe to do so.
Call 911 if you think someone needs immediate medical attention. Do not attempt to move them but leave that to the paramedics.
Even if no one is injured, call the police if required by your state’s law.
If you have a question at the scene about your state’s law or your legal responsibility in the accident, call your accident attorney.
Exchange information with other car owner: name, contact information, make and model of vehicle, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number, but do not share details of your policy – such as coverage limits or deductible – with the other driver and do not apologize or admit fault, even if you think you’re to blame for the accident. An apology could be used against you later, regardless of whether you were fully responsible.
Take photos or video of the scene and the accident damage, if possible. Note the time of day and weather conditions.
Keeping cool and following these steps at the scene in a bleak situation will be rewarded later when others review the matter and make decisions about responsibility in the light of day.