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What are the most important things to do after a car accident?

If you become involved in a vehicle crash this winter on a snowy or icy Colorado road, you should do – and not do – certain things immediately afterward. Per FindLaw, the most important thing you should do, even if it is a relatively minor accident, is to stay there until law enforcement officials arrive. If you fail to stay, you could face charges of hit-and-run and/or leaving the scene of an accident.

While staying there takes only a split-second decision on your part, the things you should do next will take some time. The most important, naturally, is to check the status of your passengers and the drivers and passengers of all other vehicles involved. If anyone appears to be suffering ill effects such as pain, dizziness, etc., call 911 on your cellphone, give your location, and ask for immediate first responder and law enforcement assistance. If anyone is unconscious, do not attempt to move him or her unless there is danger from a fire, a downed power line, or some other emergency situation.

Gather information

The next thing you should do is to exchange information with all other drivers, including the following:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Insurance company names and contact information

Be as cordial and cooperative as possible, but do not, under any circumstances, indicate in any manner that you caused the accident. Even if you think it may have been your fault, it is far too early to be assigning blame.

Next, walk around each vehicle looking for signs of property damage. Take pictures with your cellphone of any damage you discover. While you are at it, also take photos of the road conditions, any skid marks, and any traffic lights, signals or barricades.

Then talk to any pedestrians who witnessed the accident and the drivers and passengers of any cars that stopped to help. Get the contact information for each person you talk to.

When law enforcement officers arrive, get their names and badge numbers. Tell them you want to make a police report and answer whatever questions they ask. Again, however, do not say or imply that you were at fault. Be sure to ask them for the report number and when, where and how you can get a copy. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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