No matter how careful a driver may be, statistics indicate that most drivers will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Most states require that drivers carry some type of automobile insurance or evidence of financial responsibility. Having proper insurance and knowing how to handle an accident will help to lessen the worry and stress if an accident occurs.
No matter who was at fault, there are ways to handle an accident to ensure that proper procedures are followed. This protects a driver by documenting the situation at the time of the accident and is particularly helpful if the driver is sued later. First, make sure that the driver and passengers of each vehicle are unharmed, and call for medical help immediately. Place reflective cones or flares around the vehicles to warn moving traffic that there has been an accident. If possible, move the vehicles out of the roadway. Report the accident to the police.
Do not discuss who was at fault even if it is certain that the other driver was in error, never agree to a friendly settlement or discuss terms of an agreement, and take pictures of the condition of the vehicles. This ensures that the other driver cannot make false or exaggerated claims afterwards. Exchange names, contact information and insurance details, and record the license plate number and the make and model of the other vehicles involved. If possible, write down what happened. If there are witnesses who saw the accident, get their names and phone numbers if they agree. When the police arrive, give an accurate and honest account of the accident.
Even if the accident was caused by the other driver, report the accident to the insurance carriers as soon as possible. Although an accident may seem minor, damage to vehicles may be greater than appeared at the time, or injuries may become apparent after a few days. If a dispute arises later about who was at fault, talk to an attorney who can assist in establishing the facts.