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WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN A CAR ACCIDENT

1. Don’t leave!

Leaving the scene of an accident without attempting to provide assistance and to exchange certain information with the other driver is a serious crime. Stay on scene until you are absolutely certain the matter has been completely resolved. If the police are called, wait until they arrive.

2. Render assistance

Make sure that no one is seriously hurt. If they are, call 911 immediately. Provide first-aid to the extent that you are able.

3. Gather information

If the accident resulted in bodily injury to a person or damage to a vehicle, the other driver is required to provide you with certain information depending on the state in which the accident occurred. In general, you should comply with all reasonable requests for contact and insurance information. Regardless of where the accident occurs, gather as much information as possible from the other driver. You should try to obtain:

– Insurance information (insurance company, policy number)
– Contact information (full name, phone, address, email)
– Vehicle information (registration number, license plate number)

Maryland

A driver involved in an accident in Maryland must provide his or her:
1. Name
2. Home address
3. Vehicle registration number
4. Name and address of auto-insurance carrier and/or producer, and if available, the address for its local office
5. Auto-insurance policy number.

Upon request, the driver must also display his or her license.

Virginia

A driver involved in an accident in Virginia must provide his or her:
1. Name
2. Home address
3. Driver’s license number
4. Vehicle registration number

Washington D.C.

A driver involved in an accident in Washington D.C. must provide “identifying information”.

4. Notify your own insurance company about the accident

Many insurance companies require their policyholders to report accidents. If you don’t report the accident on-time, it could affect your insurance coverage for the accident. Even if you are certain the other driver is completely at fault, it is safest to report the accident. If the other driver’s insurance coverage ends up being expired, invalid, or insufficient, you might have to get compensation from your own insurance company.

5. Contact a lawyer

If you suffered injuries in the collision or your vehicle was damaged, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you navigate the complex insurance claims process. Do not talk with the other driver’s insurance company unless your lawyer advises it.