An unexpected accident can leave you feeling a little bit frazzled. Here are seven “TO DOs” after a South Dakota automobile accident to make the situation a little less stressful.
1. Stop your vehicle and get out.
Make sure that your car is stopped, turn off the engine, and shift into park. Take a minute to catch your breath. Check to make sure it’s safe to get out before opening the door.
2. Stay at the scene.
Never leave the scene of an accident until it’s appropriate to do so. If you leave, especially when someone has suffered injuries, you may face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.
3. Move to a safe area.
If you can, move your car out of the way. If this isn’t possible, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers that your vehicle isn’t moving any time soon.
4. Check on the others involved.
Check on the other parties involved, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, to make sure no one is hurt. Call 911 if anyone appears to be injured.
5. Call the police.
Even in minor accidents, a police accident report can be valuable when dealing with insurance companies and other drivers. Cooperate fully and be polite, but avoid admitting fault or blaming others while at the scene. Let the police objectively review the events and determine who, if anyone, was at fault for the accident.
6. Gather information.
Try to write down as much information as you can after the accident, including:
▪ Driver, passenger, and witness names, addresses, and email addresses
▪ License plate numbers
▪ Insurance company name, policy number, and telephone number for the other vehicles involved
▪ Description of vehicles involved (make, model, color)
▪ Contact information for any eyewitnesses
▪ Location of the accident
▪ The name, badge number, and telephone number of any investigating officers
7. Document the scene.
If you have a smartphone with a camera, take some pictures of the accident scene. The pictures may come in handy later in the case.