In the frantic moments after your vehicle has been hit, or after your vehicle has hit another vehicle, it can be easy to forget what steps need to be taken. If you are feeling pain or disorientation because of an injury, it can be especially hard to remember the list of details that you should get from the other driver.
Here is a handy list of what information you will need to obtain, in a format that you can probably print and put in your glove box or cell phone, so that you don’t have to call on a fuzzy memory when lights are shining in your face and you don’t feel well.
Be sure to gather these bits of information from the other driver:
- Take down all of the insurance information available from the other driver, such as policy number and company. Don’t trust a simple slip of paper or card. It could be a copy of someone else’s policy. Make a call right away to the number given to you to verify insurance information. Remember that 1 in 7 drivers in the U.S. do not carry any kind of insurance. If that is the case with the other driver, then you need to know that before leaving the accident scene.
- Record the license plate number of the vehicle, along with the state.
- Get the other driver’s license number. Again, this will need to be verified. Don’t believe even a photo ID unless the number is later checked. In fact, if the other driver simply flashes a license and claims that there is no problem, there probably is a problem. The same goes for insurance information. If you are briefly shown a card or slip of paper with a name and number on it, but you are discouraged from writing both down, then the other driver might not have proper insurance.
- Assemble all of the relevant details about the other vehicle involved, including make, model and year. A VIN can come in handy, too, and is listed on most car registrations.
- Get all of the names of the people in the other vehicle. This could prove vitally important if your case goes to court. You might see an entire family in a row of seats claiming that it was in the car that you struck. No matter how dark it might be at the accident scene, do a head count in the other car and write down all of the names.
- If you are able to, snag any witnesses at the accident scene, their objective testimony can really help you if your case ends up in the legal system.
- If you have a good car accident attorney, a quick call to him/her will get the ball rolling for any legal action that you might have to take or defend yourself against. Your car accident lawyer can help you to calm down and walk you through all of the above steps and more.