What to do at the scene of an auto accident
Save and use this useful checklist
Car accident victims often tell us that they regret not being better prepared for what to do at the scene of an accident. This outline briefly reviews the most important steps recommended by our car accident lawyers. To speak with a lawyer now, call (800) 777-0028.
- Stay calm and assist injured passengers
- Call the police
- Document ALL injuries
- Write down as much information as possible
- Photograph the scene
- Cooperate with police, but speak with an attorney before accepting responsibility for the accident
- Do not leave the scene of the accident
Immediately call an ambulance for any injured individuals. Do not move injured passengers unless it is necessary to avoid further injury.
Even if the car accident appears to be minor, it’s extremely important to call the police immediately in order to file a police report. Michigan State Police website.
Often times, very serious injuries are not experienced immediately after the accident. Make a detailed list of all injuries and pain you and other passengers are experiencing, even if a symptom seems to be minor at the time.
It’s important to document as much information at the accident scene as possible because often, the driver who caused the accident will change his or her story along the way. Additionally, errors may appear in the police report and documentation can be vital in correcting mistakes. If possible, make note of the following information:
- All personal injuries that you or your passenger(s) experienced as a result of the accident.
- The exact location where the accident occurred.
- The time, weather conditions and direction the vehicles were traveling at the time of the accident.
- A description of how the accident occurred.
- License plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident.
- Nature of any damage to vehicles that existed before the accident.
- Nature of any damage to vehicles that occurred from the accident.
- Statements by other drivers admitting responsibility for the accident.
- Statements by other drivers or passengers indicating they were not injured from the accident.
- Name, badge number and phone number of all police officers who arrive at the accident scene.
- Name, address, phone number, drivers license number (including expiration date), registration and insurance information (including policy number) of all drivers involved in the auto accident.
- Many times, the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle will not be the same person. Obtain the name, address, phone number and insurance information (including the policy number) of all owners of any vehicles involved in the accident.
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses who observed the accident and/or arrived at the accident scene, including passengers involved in the accident.
- Your observations as to whether any drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident in any way. Describe the behavior of those under the influence and insist on a breath test if you suspect alcohol is involved.
- The nature of any traffic tickets issued by police at the accident scene.
Take pictures of the car accident scene, if you can do so safely. If possible, take photos from multiple angles and locations. Be sure to photograph:
- Vehicle damage
- Injured drivers/passengers
- Skid marks on the roadway, next to a measuring stick, shoe or other object so that the size of the marks can be estimated. This is important because skid marks fade within days.
- The roadway or intersection where the car accident occurred
Avoid speaking with anyone, other than police, about your car accident. Do not accept responsibility for the accident and do not blame others.
It’s important to remain at the accident scene — unless you’re being transported to the emergency room by ambulance — until all other drivers and police have left.
You’re welcome to call one of our car accident lawyers for free help and advice at (800) 777-0028. Or you can fill out our free consultation form.