You have certain legal obligations if your car is involved in an accident, a few of which are to remain at the scene, determine the extent of injuries and vehicle damage and report the accident to the police, even if it was a minor fender-bender. You must also report the accident to your insurance company. There are many facts you should gather for your report, but there is also information you should keep out of it.
A car accident is an unnerving event at the very least. If there are injuries and the vehicles involved are badly damaged, the entire situation can become much more stressful. You may have to call 911 for help, but once injured people have received the attention they need, you should turn yours to gathering facts. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident, including the passengers in the other vehicle. Write down the insurance company of the other driver and the vehicle identification number of the other car involved.
Start with the date and time of the accident. Note the traffic conditions, the weather conditions and any markers, such as street or highway signs that help to pinpoint the location. Describe the damage to the vehicles and, if possible, use your mobile phone to take photos. You might also use your phone as a recording device if you do not have paper or anything to write with. If there were any witnesses, get their names and contact information. When a policeman arrives, note his or her name, badge number and contact information.
Do not discuss the subject of fault with the other driver or passengers. Never accept responsibility, even if you feel you were to blame for the accident. The other parties may try to make you admit fault or agree to handle the entire matter without insurance. Do not commit to anything because doing so might affect any claim you may want to make to an insurance company. You will undoubtedly feel nervous and unsettled, but do not try to relieve the tension by engaging in conversation with the other parties; just stick to the facts for your report.
Following a car accident, there are several reasons you might want to contact an attorney. If you have been badly injured, need to spend time in the hospital or find that long-term care will be needed as a result of your injuries, you should speak with an attorney. On the other hand, it would be good to have an attorney in your corner to negotiate with an insurance company regarding your claim for compensation. Also, if the police report does not provide clear information as to who was at fault, it is time to contact a law firm.