There are at least 6 million vehicle crashes each year in this country. It is important to have an idea on what to do because of the fear, confusion and trauma that may accompany these accidents.
Addressing safety at the accident scene is your first priority in motor vehicle accidents. Never leave any accident regardless of whether it is a major or minor crash. Assure that everyone, your passengers and anyone else involved in the crash, is unhurt. Call 9-1-1 if anyone needs medical attention.
If you are uninjured, carefully drive your vehicle to the side of the road so it does not block traffic. Turn on the hazard lights and set up reflective emergency triangles or flares to warn other motorists. If your vehicle is seriously damaged, leave it where it is.
Massachusetts requires the filing of a crash report to the Commonwealth and to the police department with authority over the accident within 5 days if anyone was killed or injured or there is vehicle or property damage over $1,000.
If police come to the crash, obtain their badge numbers, name, and contact information. Ask for a copy of their accident report or the process for obtaining it.
Use your iPhone to photograph or write down the following important information:
- Driver’s license, registration, and insurance documents.
- Name, phone numbers, addresses for anyone involved in the crash.
- Insurance number and insurance company contact information.
- License numbers of any vehicle in the accident.
- Make and model of any vehicle in the crash.
- Witnesses’ contact information.
If the driver’s name does not match the registration and insurance documents, obtain the name of the vehicle’s owner.
Your iPhone may be used to document the accident scene. Be sure to obtain:
- Pictures or video of any vehicle involved in the accident, the extent of any damage skid marks and other property damage.
- Direction the vehicles were traveling.
- The general accident location to show signs, traffic lights, obstacles, and other important features.
- The accident’s date and time.
Use your phone to record your narrative on what happened and include weather and visibility information. Draw a diagram of the crash scene.
Never do the following:
- Admit fault or apologize.
- Argue with other motorists or anyone else about what happened.
- Share you Social Security number, other personal information, or your insurance policy’s coverage limits.
If you believe the other driver is aggressive, drunk or drug impaired, stay in your vehicle. Call the police if you have any fears.
Motorists may have roadside assistance as part of their insurance or auto club plans. Do not assume that a tow truck will be called. You should call for a tow truck if your vehicle is seriously damaged. This helps assure that a responsible carrier will arrive.
Notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible. This will help assure that steps are taken to cover your loss, especially if the other driver is underinsured.
See your physician if you have any pain or symptoms after the crash. These may be a sign of serious head, spinal or other injuries. If you suffer injuries, your doctor’s records may be important in a lawsuit.
Also, keep any records of damages and repairs involving your vehicle.
Keep your registration, proof of insurance card, contact information, and list of postaccident steps in a designated place in your vehicle and stored in your phone. Have numbers for your insurance agent, attorney, and any person who you can contact for assistance.
Attorneys can assist you and provide with your options after an accident. They can represent your interests and seek compensation for injuries caused by another negligent driver.