If you’ve been in an automobile accident it’s easy to be thrown off from what you need to do. Missing key steps at the scene of an accident can make insurance claims for vehicle damage or legal claims for injuries more difficult.
Here are some simple tips on what do after a car or road accident:
- Stay calm and assess the situation. Check for any injuries and seek medical attention if necessary.
- Call the police and report the accident (see section below). Provide them with the necessary information, including the location, time, and details of the accident.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
- Take photos or videos of the scene, including any damage to your vehicle and the surrounding area. This will be useful for insurance purposes and may help in any legal proceedings. Try to get photos of the other drivers licence, vehicle registration plates and even a photo or video which shows them at the scene (in case they claim later it was someone else driving the vehicle).
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident and begin the claims process.
- Consider contacting a lawyer if you feel that you were not at fault for the accident or if you believe that you may need legal representation.
- Avoid discussing liability of the accident with anyone other than the police, your insurance company and attorney if you seek advice. Do not admit fault or blame the other driver(s) for the accident.This relates to discussing liability. You should of course seek support from friends, family as well as professionals if feeling the psychological upset and trauma which is common after an acccident.
- Keep a record of any expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills or repairs, for insurance purposes.
When do you need to report a car or auto accident to the police?
In California, a car accident must be reported to the police if it involves any of the following:
- Any injury, regardless of how minor it may seem.
- Damage to any vehicle or property that exceeds $1,000.
- A hit-and-run accident where the driver of the other vehicle fled the scene.
- If any of the involved parties are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- If any of the involved parties are not able to provide proof of insurance.
In any of these situations, it is important to contact the police immediately to report the accident and to obtain a police report. This will help to ensure that all parties involved are protected and that any potential legal issues are addressed in a timely manner.
In Texas, drivers are required to report any car accident that results in injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more to the police. This should be done as soon as possible after the accident occurs.
In Florida, you are required to report a car accident to the police if it involves any of the following:
- Injury to any person
- Damage to property exceeding $500
- A hit and run, even if there is no injury or property damage
If the accident does not involve any of these factors, you are not required to report it to the police, but it is recommended to do so for your own protection and to document the incident.