It’s important to be prepared in the event of a car accident, but not all motorists know what they need to do. One of the many things as to what you should do in a car accident includes gathering information. While it’s important to get information from the other parties involved in the crash, it’s just as important to get details about the accident scene itself. Having a notebook, pen/pencil and camera (or cell phone) on hand can help you recreate the accident scene in detail so the police officer and insurance company have an idea of what happened and how the crash occurred.
It’s in the Details
The more details you have about your accident, the more evidence the insurance company has against the liable party. That’s why it’s important to be prepared since you never know when a crash will occur.
After a crash, you should first get information from those involved. Get names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license and license plate numbers, insurance information, vehicle descriptions and accident scene location and time of the crash. Don’t just get the information of the driver. Make sure you have the passengers’ names and contact information as well. If there were witnesses, you’ll want their information as well. If a police officer is called to the scene, get his or her name and badge number.
Get as much information as possible, as this will make your case more solid. Take photos as well. Get pictures of vehicle damage, any other property damage and the accident scene in general. Was it sunny, icy or rainy? The photos should show the outside environment at the time of the crash. If there are skid marks or other identifying marks, take photos of those. Just make sure it is safe to do so, as you don’t want to get injured in the process.
What Not to Do
When exchanging information with the other parties, say only the minimum. Do not admit guilt or even say “I’m sorry.” This may seem like the polite thing to do, but this statement be used against you. Insurance companies see an apology as an admission of guilt. Even if you think you may have caused the accident, do not give any evidence to be sued against you. When police arrive at the accident scene, they will assess the crash and make a determination. Let them decide who is at fault.
Also, do not sign anything at the accident scene unless it is for the police officer. If another party involved in the accident wants you to sign something, refuse. If you are unsure what you are signing, ask for clarification. If you still have doubts, contact an attorney.
Gathering information from all parties involved in an accident is important. Without it, you cannot file a claim, which means you could lose out on tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.