If you are involved in a collision:
  • Call the police. Even if it only seems to be a minor accident and no one appears injured, it's important to have a police report to prove the accident happened. Without a police report, you will not be protected if others involved in the accident later claim you caused injuries to them. They could even say you left the scene, and you could be charged with hit-and-run.
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  • Write down the make, model, color, and license plate numbers of other cars involved in the accident. Note basic physical descriptions of other drivers as well. It is important to do this is soon as possible, because another driver might pull over as if to stop but then drive off before you have a chance to exchange information with him/her. Having a disposable camera in your vehicle, or even your cell phone can assist with this.
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  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Make sure you get the name of their insurance company, their insurance policy number, and their agent's name and phone number. Get the other drivers' full names, current addresses, phone numbers, and driver's license numbers.
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  • Don't say anything to the other driver(s) or witnesses about how the accident happened. Be sure you don't say that you were or might have been at fault. The police, the insurance companies, and, possibly, a court of law will determine that. Remember, anything you say at the time of the accident may be used against you later.
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  • Ask any witnesses who saw the accident or its aftermath for their name, address, and phone number.
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  • If the other driver(s) or witnesses comment about the accident, write down what they said as soon as possible, so you don't forget. Also pay attention to the demeanor/behavior of other drivers involved. Were they talking on a cell phone when the accident occurred? Do they seem tired or under the influence of alcohol or some other substance?
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  • Get the name, badge number, and phone number of the police officer(s) who responded to the accident. Ask them for an accident report number, so you can get the police report once it's completed.
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  • Pay attention to the details of the scene of the accident, including damages to your car and other vehicles. You may want to take pictures of the site where the accident occurred that will include important evidence, such as a faulty traffic light.
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  • Get treatment for your injuries right away. They may seem minor at the time of the accident but feel much worse the next day. If you don't get treatment immediately, there will not be a medical record tying your injuries to the accident, and the insurance company may argue that your injuries or symptoms were not caused by the accident. Keep copies of all bills/expenses related to any medical treatment you receive. Be sure to write down the names and phone numbers of any doctors you go to and the dates you saw them.
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  • As soon as possible, contact your preferred repair facility and tell them you have had an accident. Generally while you are waiting for the police at the accident site, it is a good time to contact the repair facility. They can assist you with towing and other next steps that will be necessary such as calling your insurance company to notify them of the accident. Your policy may state that you have to do this within a certain period of time, but it is best to call your repair facility first. If you believe another driver was at fault, it is best to call your repair facility since the other insurer may have a history that is not in your best interest. Your repair facility can assist you in contacting their insurer as well to make a claim. Some companies may require you to fill out certain forms to make your claim official. Be sure to ask for your claim number. If you do not have the other driver's insurance information, you should be able to get it off of the police report.
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