Determine Whether Anyone is Hurt
If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, you should never leave the scene, no matter how minor the damages may be. The first priority is everyone’s safety. Thus, you should make sure everyone involved is okay and uninjured. If there are injuries, you should seek a first responder’s assistance (i.e., call 911 for immediate help).
Get Yourself & Your Vehicle Out of Danger
If there are no injuries, then the vehicles involved should be cleared off the road to avoid any further incidents and so that the traffic on the road is not impeded. Turn on the hazard lights in your vehicle and keep them on during this process.
If the collision is more severe or if anyone is hurt, leave the vehicles where they are.
Even if you don't think you've been injured, be extra careful when getting out of your car, especially if the motor vehicle collision took place on a highway or busy street. You may not be thinking logically, and this can put you in danger.
Contact the Police
It is strongly recommended to contact the police when you are involved in a motor vehicle collision. Most collisions involve discrepancies as to who may be at fault and the police can assist in determining and documenting what happened to cause the collision. While it's important to report the motor vehicle collision, some police departments may not respond to a minor collision with no physical injuries.
If the police do respond and arrive, make sure to note the officer's name, badge number, and contact information. Confirm with the officer that a motor vehicle collision report is being made and be sure to get the motor vehicle collision report number from the officer.
Collect Important Evidence From the Scene
Use your cellphone camera to take photographs of the property damage done to all the vehicles involved in the collision. Be sure to collect information on all the parties involved in the collision. Here's the most important information drivers should exchange after a motor vehicle collision:
- Full legal name and home address
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver's license, license plate and VIN number of the vehicle
- Make, model, and color of vehicle
- Location of motor vehicle collision
Never share your Social Security number, the coverage limits on your insurance policy, or other personal information. Also, it is very important to avoid roadside discussions about what happened and who’s at fault.
Record as much detail about the motor vehicle collision as possible using your smartphone's camera, video, and voice memo features. Check the impact on your vehicle. Was it on the front side, driver's side, or rear? Taking several photographs of all the vehicles involved is the most comprehensive way to document the property damage.
Record the date and time of the motor vehicle collision, and photograph and/or video the entire scene of the motor vehicle collision, including skid marks, signs, and directional marks. Note the street names and the direction each vehicle was heading, both before and after the motor vehicle collision. Also, note the position of the vehicles relative to the street. This information is crucial because it helps re-create the motor vehicle collision scene when reporting the claim to the insurance company.
Sketch a diagram of the motor vehicle collision scene. Using the voice memo app on your phone, dictate what happened while the details are still fresh in your mind. Include information about the weather and visibility.
In order to help protect yourself, take the following steps:
- Identify the officers - Once the police arrive, get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
- Request a police motor vehicle collision report number - Ask the police officers present where you can obtain a copy of the motor vehicle collision report. Your insurer may ask for a copy of the report when you file a car insurance claim.
- Take pictures - Document the motor vehicle collision thoroughly by taking pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars.
- Witnesses - Take down names of any witnesses and ask them if you can take down their account as to what happened.
Call a Tow Truck If Needed
Depending on how much damage your motor vehicle sustained, it may need to be towed to a collision repair center. Many people have motor club memberships and roadside assistance benefits on their insurance policies. The police may call a tow truck company, and some car manufacturers offer driver assistance programs as well.
See a Doctor Immediately
You may feel perfectly fine right after a motor vehicle collision, but some injuries become apparent only after a day or two. You can sustain serious head or spinal injuries from even a minor impact, so visit your doctor if you experience pain or any unusual symptoms. It is common to feel uninjured at the time of the collision and represent that you are feeling okay when asked at that time. Unfortunately, injuries from motor vehicle collision can take effect days after the incident, so it is important to make sure you are actually not injured when asked about your condition by anyone.
Injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision are usually included in your auto insurance claim, so it's important to document any physical harm stemming from the motor vehicle collision
It is easier to remain calm after a motor vehicle collision when you are prepared. Download your insurance company's app and forms that guide you through the insurance claim process.
Designate a spot in your car to keep your registration, proof of insurance card, contact information, and a list of key things you need to remember at the scene of a motor vehicle collision.
Additionally, you can download our MAS Law Car Accident Checklist. By keeping it in your car or on your phone, you can be prepared in the event of a motor vehicle collision.
What MAS Law Can Do For You
Here at MAS Law, we zealously represent victims of motor vehicle collisions and ensure they are justly compensated for their injuries, damages, and hardships suffered by someone else’s negligence. We take pride in fighting for our clients against the negligent party and their insurance company as they try to bully and take advantage at every turn. MAS Law will not back down from the challenges and obstacles the at-fault party and their insurance company try to throw our client’s way in an attempt to minimize the value of their claim. Our firm is well known for taking a case as far as necessary to ensure we get full value and consideration for our injured clients. If your case is not receiving full consideration during the settlement phase process, we will file suit and have the Court and Jury decide the matter, rather than settling for something less.
In addition to fighting the at-fault party for your rights, MAS Law prides itself on client service and satisfaction. We understand how challenging and life-altering a motor vehicle collision can be for our clients. Our goal is to make sure you feel comfortable and well-informed throughout the entire process of your case. Our team of experienced, award-winning attorneys and case managers are ready to stand at your side and fight for you.