In the unfortunate event of a car accident, it is imperative to take prompt and appropriate action in order to ensure the safety of all parties involved and to protect oneself from any legal repercussions. Firstly, it is vital to remain at the scene, irrespective of the severity of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident can lead to serious penalties, including fines, suspension of license, or imprisonment. In the State of New York and New Jersey, it is mandatory to stop after any accident resulting in injury death or damage to property. Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that the location is safe and that there is no risk of further collisions. This can be achieved by moving the vehicles to the side of the road, turning on the hazard lights, using a flashlight or phone light if it is dark, or if the vehicle is not functioning, removing oneself to a safe location off the road.
Secondly, it is imperative to exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident, including the names, phone numbers, driver's license information, make, model, and color of the vehicles, license plate numbers, and auto insurance information. It is advisable to request this information personally, in addition to the responding officers who may obtain this information. This will facilitate the claim process and ensure that all parties involved are accounted for.
Thirdly, it is essential to call 911 to report the accident, regardless of its severity. The police will create an accident report that is critical to the insurance claim process. It is imperative to provide a detailed account of the incident to the responding officer(s), without any guesswork or assumptions. If there is any uncertainty, it is better to state that one is not sure than to provide inaccurate information.
Finally, if possible, it is advisable to take photographs of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles, the surrounding area, and any injuries sustained. Most individuals possess smartphones with cameras, and this can be used to advantage in such situations. The photographs can be immensely helpful when filing a claim with the insurance company, and will also serve as evidence for any subsequent legal proceedings or vehicle damage.