AT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT
If you are involved in an automobile accident, the first thing to do is to prevent further collisions. Normally, you should leave your car where it is until police arrive, but if the accident occurred in a location that isn’t easily seen by on-coming traffic, move your vehicle to a safe location if possible. If your car can’t be moved and visibility is low due to darkness or bad weather, turn on your emergency flashers and alert on-coming traffic of danger by setting out road flares well ahead of the accident. If fuel is leaking from your car, do not turn on your emergency flashers; instead, turn off the ignition. If fuel is leaking from any vehicle, don’t set out road flares. If your car isn’t blocking traffic and isn’t in danger of being hit by other cars, leave it where it is.
Next, you need to help the critically injured. Apply CPR or other first aid if you have the training for it. Generally, you shouldn’t move a seriously-injured person unless they are in immediate danger of being hit by another vehicle or they are in a vehicle that is on fire. Incorrectly moving a person with back or neck injuries can cause paralysis or even death. Call 911 as soon as possible and tell them you need an ambulance.
Even if no one is seriously injured, call 911 if any vehicles are blocking the road or pose a danger to others.
If there are no serious injuries and all of the vehicles can be safely driven, you must still report the accident to the police as soon as possible.
Don’t rely on the investigating police officer to record all of the information that might be important in a lawsuit later on. The standard accident report won’t necessarily have everything that your insurance company or lawyer might need. Be sure to take pictures of the accident scene, vehicles, other damaged property, parties involved, and witnesses. Record the other drivers’ names, contact information, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. Get the names and contact information for any investigating law enforcement officers and witnesses. If you don’t have a camera, draw a map of the accident scene showing vehicle locations and record the license plate numbers of every vehicle involved.