Steps to Follow After an Accident Has Occurred
If you are involved in a traffic accident, it is important to stay calm and deal first with any emergency situations.
- Call 911. Clearly and accurately describe the situation and the exact location. Make it clear what type of emergency help is needed – fire engine or ambulance.
- Report the accident to your law enforcement agency
- Move vehicles if they are in a dangerous/hazardous location. If you can safely leave the vehicles, leave them exactly the way they were when the accident occurred.
It is important to document the accident. This process can be started while you are waiting for emergency vehicles or the police.
- Take pictures or the vehicles, skid marks, and any contributing external factors.
- Write down everything you can remember about the accident
- If you have online accident form which you can complete and email even while at the scene or a downloaded accident form in your glove box, use that to show the vehicles involved before, during and after the accident along with vehicle damage.
- Exchange information: driver’s name, address, driver’s license number (expiration date) and insurance company
- Record names/addresses/phone numbers of any passengers in the other car
- Record the other car’s make/yr/model/license plate number
- If there were any witnesses, their names, addresses and telephone numbers
- Record missing or damaged possessions
- Write down the names of the officers who respond to the accident call (This may be clearly indicated on the incident/accident report you will be asked to complete)
- Document how you feel (bruises/lacerations/aches)
Be sure that you cooperate completely with the law enforcement officers at the scene. Discuss the accident only with the officers. If a ticket is issued to you at the scene of the accident, you must sign the ticket. Your signature is your promise to appear in court on the date indicated. It is not an admission of guilt. At the time the ticket is issued you may be asked to:
- Make a plea
- Pay a fine
It is important to consult with an attorney before taking either of the above two options. Pleading guilty may make it difficult or impossible to collect damages from the other driver at a later date.
Don’t sign anything you don’t fully understand. If you are asked to sign something you do not understand, it is always best to contact an accident attorney.
Do not admit guilt. Do not volunteer any info about who you think was to blame. Talk to your insurance agent or attorney first.
For more detailed information on any areas listed above, please contact me. I am committed to providing you the best legal representation available. Email me for a free consultation and case evaluation or call 312-444-9400.