What to Do If You Have an Accident
Even during a minor accident, you must be aware of your responsibilities. You must exchange the appropriate information and submit it to your insurance carrier and local authorities in order to:
- Avoid breaking the law.
- Help defend yourself against a possible lawsuit.
- Prevent the possibility of losing your drivers’ license.
Most state laws require a driver involved in an accident that results in an injury or damage to property not to leave the scene of the accident. Most States require the driver at a minimum to provide their name, residence, motor vehicle number, license number and insurance information to the other party and/or a police officer. If a police officer is not in the vicinity or able to respond to the scene of the accident you should go to nearest police station to provide the necessary information. Check with your local police, state patrol or state/local jurisdiction on specific requirements.
Ask your insurance carrier for an accident packet or go on line to obtain one. The accident packet should be kept in the vehicle so the driver can pull it out following an incident. They will typically contain the following tips:
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident.
- Take steps to prevent further accidents – park safely and turn on your emergency flashers.
- Notify your employer (if a company owned vehicle or driving on business).
- Call the police or ask someone to call for you.
- Give the other driver(s) your name, address and phone number, the vehicle’s license plate number and your driver’s license number.
- Obtain the same information from the other parties involved as well as passengers.
- Discuss the specifics of the accident only with the police.
- If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident scene and vehicles if it is safe to do so. More pictures are better than one.
- If possible take pictures of the other driver and passengers, especially if they are complaining of an injury.
- Notify your insurance carrier. No matter how minor the incident, the need to notify the police and exchange the necessary information cannot be over emphasized. Your driving record and employment may be at risk. There is also the potential for a lawsuit involving both you and your employer.
Report an Accident Immediately to the Police and Your Employer
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