What to Do at the Scene of a Car or Truck Accident

by : Patricia Woloch

If you are ever involved in a car or truck accident, there are some things you must do while at the scene of the accident. The more prepared you are for handling any issues, insurance companies, lawyers and other persons involved, the better off you will be.

Stay There

If you are involved in an accident, never leave the scene until the proper authorities have been notified. In some states, it is required by law that you move the vehicles from interfering with traffic flow, if this is possible. In the case of a minor accident such as a fender bender, it may be appropriate to exchange insurance information and be on your way.

If the accident involved property or another vehicle that is unattended, make every attempt to contact the owner. If you cannot reach anyone, you are required to leave a conspicuous note with the following information:

&bullYour name

&bullYour address

&bullYour phone number

&bullYour vehicle registration number

You must contact the police immediately and inform them of the incident.

If both vehicle owners are present, exchange this information and make a police report.

Help the Injured

It is imperative that you find out if anyone involved in the accident has been injured. Do this before you exchange information, as someone's life may depend on it. If serious injuries are involved, call for emergency assistance immediately. You are responsible for assisting the injured party in any way possible until they receive medical attention. Do not attempt to treat any injuries unless you are trained in first aid. Even if you mean well, you may cause further injury.

Preserve the Scene

Unless the vehicles are blocking traffic, they should remain in the same positions as when they came to a stop after the accident. If anything has to be moved, be sure to note positions of everything first. Use flares, four-way flashers and flashlights to warn oncoming traffic of the accident. This will prevent further accidents and alert other drivers to make room for emergency vehicles when they arrive.

Notify Authorities

Not all accidents require notification to police. If any of the following factors exist, then they should be contacted:

&bullProperty damage exceeding $500

&bullInjuries involved

&bullDeath involved

For other minor accidents, only the exchange of information is required before leaving the scene. A written accident report must be filed with the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within five days after the accident if there is bodily injury, death or damage exceeding $500. This is not required if an officer was present and made the report.

Provide Required Information

The law requires that you provide the other driver with your name, address, phone number, insurance information and let them see your driver's license. You are entitled to the same information from them.

Always record the other driver's license number, name and address. You must provide the investigating officer with all pertinent information about the accident in order for them to determine the cause and who is at fault. Your statements are privileged information. They cannot be used against you should your accident turn into a court matter.

These are the steps required of you should you ever be involved in an accident. It is also wise to consider the following actions:

&bullAvoid comments

&bullGet names and contact information of any witnesses

&bullTake notes while the details are still fresh in your memory

&bullSee a doctor

Always be sure your insurance is paid and up-to-date. Should you ever be involved in a car or truck accident, your insurance can save you from losing everything and paying thousands of dollars.