How to Exchange Information After a Car Accident
Jared Staver is a personal injury lawyer and the founder of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. a law firm in Chicago dedicated to helping victims injured in car accidents.
Even a minor car accident can leave you disoriented and not sure what to do next. However, the moments after the accident are a critical time to collect the information you need in the event you decide to pursue a claim. To make the situation more difficult, you may not know at the time whether you’re injured and will need to file a claim. Regardless, you should exchange information.
Exchange Insurance Information
This may seem obvious, but the first thing you should do is exchange insurance information. Hopefully, both you and the other driver have your insurance cards to make it easier to trade the following details:
- Name and phone number of the insurance company and agent
- Policy number
- Name of insured (make a note if there is more than one person on the policy)
- Vehicle covered by insurance
- Dates of coverage
The quickest way to capture this information is to snap a picture of their insurance card with your phone. Make sure the photo is clear, and that you have images of both the front and back of the card. If the other driver doesn’t have their insurance card, at least try to get the name of the company and their agent.
Exchange Vehicle Information
Following the accident, you’ll want to get details regarding the other driver’s vehicle. You should obtain the following:
- Who owns the vehicle
- Make, model, color, and year
- Driver’s license plate number
- Any damage to the vehicle
Exchange Driver’s License Information
You want to exchange driver’s licenses because the license will confirm your identities and your address. Make sure you record the driver’s license number or whatever identifier is specific to that individual driver. Again, snapping a picture of the front and back of the driver’s license may be the quickest way to ensure you are capturing all of the pertinent information.
Confirm Contact Information
As you know, the information on driver’s licenses can be outdated. You should be sure to exchange the following contact information:
- Current mailing address and address of residence if different
- Email address
- Home, work, and cellphone number
- Work information
Basically, you want to be sure that you will be able to get in contact with each other if there are issues after the accident.
What Not to Exchange
You do not want to admit fault in the accident, even if you think you are responsible for the crash. Be careful even when apologizing, because that can be construed as an admission of fault. If the other driver is blaming you, be sure to indicate that you do not accept responsibility for the accident without being overly argumentative.
In some cases, the other driver may be uncooperative or even outright hostile. If you find yourself in a situation that is unpredictable or potentially dangerous, simply wait for the police to arrive on the scene. In the meantime, make a note of the make, model, and color of the other vehicle, and be sure to get the license plate number.
Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, an attorney who handles car accident cases can help you fill in any gaps in information that you were unable to collect. Many personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, so you can get an evaluation of your case without worrying about legal fees.
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