Car Accident? A Quick checklist

  1. Ohio law requires that if you are in any automobile accident, you must stop immediately.
  2. Being involved in an auto accident can be an upsetting experience, but it’s important to stay calm.
  3. Check for injuries. Before exchanging information make sure there are no injuries. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately. Help to make any injured person comfortable, but do not move him or her, or you may aggravate an injury.
  4. Don’t apologize. While politeness is usually a good thing it may be considered an admission of guilt when dealing with insurance companies or a court case.
  5. You must give your name, address, and vehicle registration number to any injured person and/or the owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the other motor vehicle(s) involved in the accident. This information must also be given to the police when they respond. If you are driving another person's automobile, you must also provide the name and address of the owner(s). You should exchange with the other driver the insurance information from your insurance card, including your insurance company name and your policy number. You should receive the same information from the other driver.
  6. Collect witness information. Take down license plate numbers and, if possible, names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.
  7. In Ohio, you must remain at the scene until the police arrive.
    1. If you have caused damage, you must provide the property owner with the required information (as listed above), and, if it is requested, you must show your driver's license.
    2. If the other car is unoccupied, you must attach the required information (listed above) to a prominent place on the other vehicle, such as under a wiper blade.
  8. You should assist the responding police officer. However, unless you are absolutely certain you know the cause of the accident, it is wise not to offer an opinion. You are not required to give an opinion.
  9. Also in Ohio, even if the police do not respond, you still must notify the police department of the accident location within 24 hours. Then you must complete a "delayed" accident report at the police station.
  10. Report the auto accident to your insurance company.
  11. Don’t talk if you are contacted by the other party, their insurance company or their lawyer it’s best to refer them to your own insurance company or a lawyer yourself.