There are certain steps you should take following a vehicle accident, and one of them is to collect various pieces of information. While a traffic accident is very stressful, even if it is only a fender bender, you must be prepared to deal with the aftermath in as calm and organized a manner as possible. Here are the basics about what to do and what not to do after the accident.
Always stop and make calls
It is your legal obligation to stop if you are in a vehicle accident. Determine if there are any injuries. It is recommended that you call 911 for an ambulance even if the injuries appear to be minor and to report the accident. If the vehicles involved in the crash are not blocking traffic, do not move them; rather, wait for the authorities to come and assess the situation.
Get the facts
Always remember to exchange information with the other party. Write down names and contact information for everyone involved in the accident, as well as the license plate number, description and VIN number of the other vehicle. Note as much information as you can, including:
- The street or highway where the accident occurred
- The direction in which the vehicles involved were traveling
- Weather, visibility and other driving conditions
- Contact information for any witnesses
- Name, badge number and contact information for police officers
Also, while the details are fresh in your mind, describe how the accident happened. Make a sketch of the accident scene or use your cell phone to take pictures of vehicle damage.
Do not take responsibility or settle
Never take responsibility for the accident, even if you feel you were at fault. Neither your attorney nor your insurance company will thank you for doing so. If the other party involved tries to convince you to settle the whole matter without insurance, do not make any sort of commitment. Remember that you do not know this person or what kind of insurance he or she has. Stick to the facts when speaking with anyone, and make your next call to an attorney experienced in handling motor vehicle accident cases.