Knowing what to do after an auto accident can help reduce your stress when someone hits you. When you find yourself in an accident, you need to know what information you need to give out, collect and later report to the DMV or your insurance provider. Fumbling around in a potentially scary and stressful situation will only make matters worse. Friends and family ask me all the time what information they are required by law to give the other party involved so I thought I should outline it for everyone else.
1. First thing you need to exchange is your driver license info. Easiest way exchange this information is most likely a simple photograph. Almost every phone on the market has a decent enough camera to document another driver’s information. If you cannot take a photo, the relevant information should include: their full name, license expiration date (make sure identification and license are still valid), date of birth, license number and listed address.
2. The next thing on your list is vehicle registration. This is especially important to collect if the driver at fault is driving a car that does not belong to them. Once again, taking a quality photograph of the vehicle registration is best option. In the case that you cannot take a quick photo, note the license number of the vehicle on registration (and confirm that it does match the vehicle), the VIN or vehicle Identification and the name of the owner of the vehicle. Having all of this information will make filing a DMV or Insurance report much easier.
3. The last thing you absolutely need is their insurance information or proof of financial responsibility. If they do not have liability coverage, you need to know this immediately. When photographing or copying the information on the insurance card, confirm that the name of the insured matches the name on the driver’s license. Additionally, you may want to check that their insurance information is valid and up to date.
If a driver refuses to turn over this information (which they are legally obligated to hand over), do not hesitate to call 911. Injuries and other damages to a vehicle may not be apparent at first, and as long as both of you exchange information; you will have the opportunity to contact them later.