Odds are, if you drive a car, you will get into at least one accident in your life time. While there certainly is no prep course on what to do should an accident occur, our years of accident reconstruction and investigation background have led us to compile the below instructions/suggestions:
1. Always maintain your insurance card and vehicle registration in the same place in your car. It’ll simply be reflex then to locate it in the aftermath of an accident. (It would also be smart to have a zoom disposable camera with flash in your glove compartment.)
2. Remain calm. If injured remain in a comfortable position in your vehicle (if it is safe to do so).
3. Call or have someone call 911 immediately.
4. Do not make any comments as to fault or factors that may have caused the accident.
5. Record the time, date and location of the accident.
6. List the people in all involved vehicles.
7. If you are able to, take photos of the accident scene and any damage to vehicles and noticeable injuries to people. (Note: In photographing the accident scene: record any skid marks or tire gouges left on the roadway. These marks go a long way in determining speed. Also, note all traffic signals/markers in the area such as traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrian crosswalks, pedestrian Walk Signals, medians… present.)
8. While recording the defendant vehicle’s license plate, as well as the driver’s license, registration and insurance card, take photos of these documents as well. Also note the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN can usually be seen on the car’s dashboard, through the lower left side (driver’s side) of the windshield. In taking a photo of the VIN, disable the camera’s flash as that additional light may blank the photo.
9. Again, other than inquiring into the defendant(s) health, do not become engage in any “fault” conversation but be aware of any conditions that you feel may have been a factor in the accident (e.g. sun glare, malfunctioning traffic signal, excessive weather conditions…).
10. When you are able, report the accident to your insurance company.
11. The time to seek a personal injury attorney is before an accident occurs. Have several contact names and numbers available from recommendations from friends or family that have experienced this situation. One doesn’t want to be interviewing for a legal representative in an emotionally and physically exhausted state.
ACCIDENT INFORMATION FORM
DATE: ________________________ TIME: __________________
County: __________________________STATE: _________________
DRIVER’S LICENSE #: ____________________DATE/BIRTH: _________
PLATE #: ________________________________ STATE: ____________
REGISTERED OWNER: ___________________________________________
INSURANCE CODE: _____________ VALID UNTIL: __________________
INSURANCE COMPANY: __________________________________________
CONTACT PHONE #: ____________________________________________
PHONE NUMBER: _______________________________________________
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