When you get into a car accident, it's likely you'll be shaken up, which is why it's important you have these details before the accident. Remember this checklist assumes your injuries are minor. Don't do anything to risk your safety or compound your injuries.
1. Be Prepared
DMV.org has created an accident report form specific to every state. Download and print several copies of the form for your state and place them in your glovebox along with a pen.
2. Ensure Safety
Safety is the primary concern after an accident. Assess the situation and determine the risk factors.
- Is your car creating a safety hazard for other drivers or obstructing traffic?
- Are you at risk of further injury if you exit your vehicle?
If it won't cause further safety issues, move your vehicle, but unless it's safe to do so, do not exit.
3. Assess Injuries & Call 911
After you're sure the car is as safe as possible, determine whether anyone has any injuries, then call 911 to request police and emergency services.
4. Communicate with Police & Other Driver
Whether you're talking to the police or the other driver, be courteous and polite — anger will not help the situation, but it could compound it. And whatever you do, whether you're talking to the police or the other driver, do not admit fault and do not say you aren't injured even if you believe you aren't.
Information to Collect
- The other driver's full name
- The other driver's insurance information, including the name of the company, the policy number and the name and phone number of his or her agent if applicable
- If the other driver is uninsured, get their phone number (and make sure it works)
- The license plate number, VIN number and the vehicle description (make, model, year, color) of the other vehicle
- The names and contact information of witnesses to the accident
Information Never to Give Out
There's some information you should never give out to strangers, as it may present a hazard for identity theft or harassment. Note that the police may take some of this information, and that's OK.
- Do not give out your phone number unless you have no insurance (don't give a fake number, as it could complicate your case later)
- Never give out your address (even your work address) or anyone else's you know
- Do not allow your driver's license, insurance card (if it has any personally identifiable information, like your home address) or registration to be photographed or scanned
Note that the other driver will need a way to get in touch with you. Especially if you have no insurance, don't be offended if they take steps to ensure you've given them accurate information — you should do the same in a similar position.
5. Get Medical Attention
Even if your injuries are mild, request medical attention at the scene (if the paramedics aren't already there). If you don't believe you're injured, follow up with your physician as soon as possible, especially if you start to experience pain or other signs of injury after the fact.
6. Document the Accident
If you have a camera or smartphone handy, document the accident by taking photos. Make sure to capture everything.
- The damage to both vehicles
- Objects at the scene, including accident or other debris (i.e., fallen branches), skid marks and anything that was ejected from either car
- Street signs or landmarks to identify the location
- Anything you think contributed to the accident (such as obscured street signs)
- Pull out your accident report form and record all the other factors that may not be captured in photos.
- Time and date
- Weather and any traffic conditions (especially those that contributed)
- Description of the accident from your perspective
- Description of injuries and any damage (or notes on the photos you took)
- Details of the police and emergency responder involvement
Note: Do not post anything at all about your accident on your social media pages, including the fact that you were involved in one, any photos or other information.
7. Contact the Insurance Company & Lawyer
You may need to contact your insurance company at the scene to request a tow or utilize other post-accident services they provide. That's fine, but don't have any correspondence with the other driver's insurance company except through your lawyer and don't allow even your own to record a telephone statement of what happened.
Then call a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. These lawyers generally will not charge for a consultation. If you've been involved in an accident in the Orlando, Florida area, call the Kissimmee auto accident lawyers of Draper Law Offices at 866.767.4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation.