1. Be Prepared. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove Compartment. Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries.
2. Move to a safe area. If it’s safe to do so and you aren’t seriously injured, move your car out of further harm’s way, like to the shoulder of the road. If moving your car just isn’t possible, flip on your hazards to warn other drivers that your vehicle isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
3. Stop your vehicle and get out. Make sure your car is no longer moving, turn off the engine, shift into park, or set the hand brake if you drive a manual. Take a moment to catch your breath. Check to make sure it’s safe to get out of your car before opening the door. If you have flares or similar road safety items, consider using them.
3. Check on others involved. Check on all the other parties involved, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, to make sure no one is hurt. Call 911 if anyone may be injured. Even a seemingly minor symptom like dizziness should be checked out by a health care professional.
4. Call the police to the scene. Even in minor accidents, a police accident report can prove invaluable when dealing with your car insurance company and other drivers. Cooperate fully, but avoid admitting fault or blaming others while at the scene. Let the police objectively judge events and determine who, if anyone, is at fault in the crash.If the police can’t make it to the scene you can file an accident report through your state’s DMV.
5. Gather info. If you have the BetrasLaw App use it to write down as much info as possible in the accident aftermath, including driver and passenger names, license plate numbers, insurance info, makes and models of all vehicles involved, contact info for any eyewitnesses, location of the accident, the name and badge number of any responding police officers. If you do not have the BetrasLaw App record this information on a piece of paper and keep it in a safe place until it is needed.
6. Document the scene. If you have the BetrasLaw App use the still camera/video feature to record the scene of the accident. Otherwise use the camera on your smartphone or a traditional camera to photograph the scene. The pictures/video will provide important evidence during civil and criminal legal proceedings that may be triggered by the accident.
7. Contact Betras, Kopp & Markota. Remember: call us before you speak to an insurance adjuster or sign any papers an insurance company mails or emails to you.