A car crash, even a minor one like a rear-end collision, can leave you feeling shaky and disoriented, but take a deep breath; there are things to do.
First, you need to check yourself and any others involved for injuries. What should you do next?
If there are injuries, call 911 to request medical assistance. Next, call the police and report the accident. When law enforcement officers arrive, cooperate in providing your personal information, but do not elaborate about the accident or admit fault, even if you feel you were responsible. Let the police come to their own conclusions and write their accident report. Ask for a copy to give to your attorney.
While you wait for the police to arrive, jot down notes about the accident while the details are fresh in your mind:
- Take down the name of the other driver, plus his or her insurance and contact information.
- Note the names and contact information of any witnesses to the crash.
- Include the location of the accident site and any identifiers, such as highway or street signs and nearby buildings.
- Describe the weather conditions.
- Note the direction in which you and the other driver were traveling.
- Record the makes and models of the vehicles involved as well as the license plate numbers.
- Write down the badge numbers of the officers who come to the accident scene.
Use the camera feature on your cellphone to take pictures. Take photos of the damage from different angles and shots of the crash site. If you have a visible injury like bruises on your knees or a bump on your forehead, ask someone to take pictures with your phone.
Know what not to do
Once again, do not admit fault. When exchanging insurance information with the other driver, do not venture an opinion about the cause of the accident or who was to blame. When speaking with the police, remember that you are under no obligation to make a statement. Also, when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, do not sign any documents without first obtaining legal counsel.