Always call the police when you are in a car accident. Their official report is vital to your future. It helps determine guilt and who pays for any claims. It has a major impact on your insurance rates and legal driving status.
But what if police are unavailable? They may be busy with another emergency in Stamford or Fairfield County. You have to act to protect your interests.
Before the accident
Keep important documents in your vehicle. These include insurance cards or other proof that you have insurance, your car’s registration and the contact information for your insurance agent. Also, have your own and any frequent passengers’ medical information.
Equip your car for an emergency. You should always have first aid supplies, hazard cones, flares and emergency signs. Have a pen and paper handy to record information.
Make certain that you have adequate insurance. Knowing that you have coverage provides peace of mind.
At the scene
Call 911 if there are injuries. Protecting the health of any victims is most important.
Call law enforcement even if no one has injuries. If they cannot respond to the scene or will be late, ask them for advice. Get the name of the person offering you instruction.
Start your investigation. Gather information from the scene. Note the damage and location of the accident in writing. Take photographs and make recordings with your phone. Get the names and contact information of witnesses.
Collect important information from everyone involved in the accident, including driver’s license information, insurance contacts and vehicle registration. Do not make any statements to anyone that they can use against you later. Stick to the facts, not opinions, about what happened.
After the accident
File your report with law enforcement as soon as possible. Also, file a report with your insurance company to speed up the claims process.
You have a record if a mechanical problem develops later with your vehicle. Your efforts also help establish responsibility if someone later reports an injury.
You are protecting your rights. You have a detailed report supported by evidence from the scene if your case ends up in court.