You’ve had an accident and naturally, you’re a bit shaken. Perhaps you forgot to ask the other driver for their information or they might have refused to give it to you. Even worse, they’ve hit you and fled the scene. What do you do?
Didn’t Get Information
Don’t panic. First, take some time and let the adrenaline to wear off. Combined with shock, it can mask pain.
Check yourself and your passengers for obvious injuries. Even if everyone seems fine, don’t dismiss medical attention. Many injuries such as whiplash and brain damage don’t always display immediate symptoms.
Call the Police
Yes, you should call the police even if you think everyone’s fine and there’s minor damage. In that case, simply use the non-emergency number.
If it is a serious accident which includes injuries, deaths, and/or significant damage, call 9-1-1. The police will prepare a report. Ask for a copy as you will probably need it to file a claim
Record What You Remember
While you’re waiting for the police, write down all the details of the accident you can remember. Try to identify the vehicle’s make, model, and color and the license plate number. If you remember anything about the driver, write that down too.
Also record the details of the location of the accident and the events you believe led to the event. For instance, if the other driver ran a red light and broadsided you, the police will want to confirm this information.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance company even when you don’t have the other driver’s insurance information.
If you caused the accident, you need to tell them this too. Your agreement with your insurance company includes a clause which requires you do so. You must also cooperate with their investigation.
Other Driver Won’t Give You Information
People are often upset and sometimes angry after an accident. If the other driver refuses to provide you with their insurance information, don’t lose your cool. If they’re aggressive, get inside your car and lock the doors.
Call the Police
As mentioned, you should always call the police after an accident. However, this is especially important if the other party isn’t forthcoming or belligerent. The police will deal with the other party, instead of you.
Driver Leaves the Scene
If the other driver leaves the scene it is considered a felony. Get everyone safety off the road, but stay at the scene.
Take photos of the damage to your car when it is safe to do so. Also photograph the surrounding area if it could provide evidence for a hit-and-run charge.
Gather Witness Information
Ask people whether they saw the accident and are willing to recount what they saw. They might have seen which direction the vehicle went, the make and model of the vehicle, or they could have seen the driver clearly.
Get their contact information should the police or insurance company want to talk to them later.
Call the Police
As we’ve said, always call the police after an accident. Hit-and-run is a serious offense and the sooner the police know about it, the better.
No one wants to be in accident, but they can happen. Review your auto insurance coverage with an independent insurance agency like ours to ensure you’re well-protected and follow these steps if you’re involved in an accident. It will help you take control of the situation and protect your interests.