- Report the accident immediately to the nearest police department. The police will arrive at the scene and write up a report including how the accident happened, who the witnesses are, and the insurance details of the other party. But, don’t rely on the police to write down all the details for you. Ultimately, you need to document what happened.
- Take pictures. The best case scenario is that you have a camera, or a camera phone, with you when you get hit. Take photos at the scene of your car, front and back, the other vehicle, and any parts that have fallen off. Take photos of the other vehicle’s license plate, and be sure to note the color, make and model of the vehicle.
- Write down Who, What, When, and Where. Write down the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle color, make and model, and insurance information of the other driver, or drivers involved. Then, get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident before they leave the scene – and make a note of your location at the time of the accident.
- If your injuries are severe, wait for the paramedics to examine you on the scene. If your injuries aren’t yet apparent, you should still get examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Often accident victims don’t realize the extent of their injuries until a day or more after the accident, but the longer you delay getting medical treatment, the more you hurt your case (and possibly yourself).
- Notify your insurance company. Even if the auto accident was entirely the other driver’s fault, you still want to let your insurance company know what happened so they have a record of it. If you are not at fault, your insurance rates should not be affected.
DO NOT contact the other person’s insurance company until you have consulted with an auto accident attorney. Any attorney will be happy to talk with you over the phone – for free – to determine whether you have a personal injury case (if you’re hurting, you absolutely do have a case). If you do have a case, you could damage it without knowing if you say the wrong thing to the other person’s insurance company representatives.
DO NOT sign any documents, papers, or medical authorizations without speaking with a personal injury attorney.