- Pull Over to the Side of the Road. Only in rare cases is there reason to leave your car in the middle of the road after an accident. In fact, it is often unsafe to leave your car in the road, as doing so creates another hazard for other drivers. Whenever possible, move your car to the side of the road to prevent further damage.
- Make Sure No One is Injured. This should be done immediately. In the event that someone is injured, do not move them, as moving an injured person can cause further injuries. Instead, call 911. Once paramedics arrive on scene, they can safely move the injured person.
- Call the Police. While the police generally do not come to the scene of a collision (especially in major cities and when there are no injuries), it is good practice to call them and let them assess whether or not they will come to the scene. Most of the time, the parties can exchange information; however, in the event that one of the parties is uncooperative, having the police aware of the situation is important and helpful. Also, the police report is not evidence in most states due to laws preventing the report from becoming evidence due to hearsay. However, the officer can testify about what he/she was told and witnessed.
- Take Pictures. Take as many photographs of the scene as you can, including the accident scene, any debris, skid marks, your car, the other person’s car, and any visible injuries. Remember that most cell phones have built-in cameras.
- Check for Witnesses. If you see any potential witnesses to the accident, ask them for their name, telephone number, address, and any information they can provide about the accident. Having their account of the accident can help you, especially in the event that a police report is unavailable.
- Exchange Information. Provide your information to the other party involved in the accident and make sure to collect their name, telephone number, address, and insurance information. It is also helpful to write down the license plate number and vehicle identification number (the VIN is available on the registration certificate). The license plate and VIN can be especially important if the other party provides the incorrect information and/or does not own the car.
- Call Your Insurance Company. You should report the claim to your insurance company as soon as possible. Inform them of the location, parties involved, whether there is a police report available, and whether a party was injured. Please visit our website for more on claim contact information www.hwpinsurance.com
- Admit Fault. Admission of guilt can be used against you later. While people may think they are at fault after an accident, there are often other factors that may have contributed to the accident, thus removing responsibility from one party.
- Don’t Discuss Your Policy. If another party is aware of your auto insurance policy limits, it may motivate them to report a fraudulent or exaggerated claim.
For more information, please visit our website www.hwpinsurance.com or call our offices in Carlsbad 760-795-2002 and Temecula 951-296-6833.