What Should I Do After An Accident?

What Should I Do After An Accident?

If you are ever in an auto accident, you may be too nervous or shocked to think clearly. Because accidents happen to even the best of drivers, everyone should be prepared to do the right thing immediately. Many legal troubles arising from accidents can be avoided if the persons involved know in advance what they should do.The following are suggestions in the interest of your safety and rights:

1. Stop

2. Assist The Injured

3. Protect The Scene

4. Call An Officer

5. Do Not Comment On The Accident

6. Obtain Names of Witnesses

7. Take Measurements and Notes

8. Call Your Lawyer

9. Remain At The Scene

10. See A Doctor

11. Inform Your Own Insurance Company

12. Do Not Talk To The Other Person’s Insurance Company

13. Pay Nothing


1. Stop

Missouri Law requires that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident where a person is injured or property is damaged to immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic unnecessarily.

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2. Assist The Injured

If someone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately. Do not move the injured person. Good intentions on your part may result in further injury to the victim.

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3. Protect The Scene

Take all possible precautions to prevent further accidents. Station someone to warn approaching vehicles and, at night, put flares and reflectors out. Use a flashlight if no flares are available.

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4. Call An Officer

Give notice of the accident to the local police department if the accident occurs in a city or, if it occurs outside city limits, to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest station of the Highway Patrol. Even in seemingly minor accidents where there are no serious injuries or property damage, give this notice immediately. An officer’s official report may assist you later if a claim for liability is made.

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5. Do Not Comment On The Accident

Keep your notes and information strictly to yourself. Admit nothing and sign nothing, even if you think you are in the wrong. You may learn later that you were not at fault, or that the other driver was at least partially at fault. If facts later show that you alone were wrong, you can admit blame then.

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6. Obtain Names of Witnesses

Get the names and addresses of any and all witnesses as soon as you can — both eyewitnesses and all others who may have information about any of the circumstances of the accident. After writing down their names and addresses, try to obtain a statement as to what happened and have them write it down at the scene. Always have a pencil and pad, as well as this printed page, in your car.

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7. Take Measurements and Notes

Make your own written notes on all significant circumstances concerning the accident. Show position of cars after the accident. Step off exact distances of skid marks and other important distances. Be certain that you can, at a later date, point on the road where the vehicles collided and where they came to a stop. If you or someone else has a camera at the scene, take pictures to preserve skid marks, position of cars, and other physical evidence that will disappear after the accident.

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8. Call Your Lawyer

Contact a lawyer as soon as possible before making any statements. Any statement may be used as an admission. Also, be cautious in dealing with persons offering to adjust your case or anyone seeking to hurry you into a settlement. Consult your lawyer. He/she is trained to assist you in these matters.

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9. Remain At The Scene

Unless injuries make it necessary for you to leave the scene of the accident, do not leave until you have completed all of the above and identified the other driver, obtained the names, addresses and statements of witnesses, made notes and and taken measurements.

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10. See A Doctor

You may not know whether you are injured immediately after the accident. It is a good idea to see a doctor.

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11. Inform Your Own Insurance Company

Make a complete report to your automobile liability insurance company immediately. Failure to make a prompt and correct report may affect your rights. If your car was damaged more than the deductible amount, notify your collision insurance company. If you were injured. notify the company issuing the applicable insurance (accident insurance, hospitalization, etc.).

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12. Do Not Talk To The Other Person’s Insurance Company

Please see: “What You Need to Know About Insurance Companies

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13. Pay Nothing

Do not make or promise to make immediate payment of any kind to the other person. Any such payment would be at your own risk. The other driver cannot force you to make any payment without legal proceedings, nor can he/she hold your car without legal action.

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