What Information Do I Exchange in an Accident?
When you’ve been involved in a vehicular accident, any number of things will race through your mind. You will naturally assess the damage to yourself, your passengers and your vehicle. You’re also likely to be shaken up and trying in every way possible not to panic.
In the confusion of the moment, it’s easy to forget one vital chore: You must exchange accident information with every other driver involved, and the more you collect, the better. At the very least, you’ll need to obtain or document:
– The name, address, email, phone number and insurance information of every other driver.
– The license numbers of all vehicles involved.
– The precise location at which the accident took place.
– The name and badge number of each attending member of law enforcement.
– Applicable information relating to ambulance drivers, emergency technicians and other first responders.
Nevada law not only requires drivers to exchange this information with each other but also to provide it along with their driver’s licenses to members of law enforcement who appear on the scene to investigate the crash.
If your accident involved a parked or otherwise unattended vehicle, it also your responsibility to locate its owner, describe what has taken place and obtain his or her identifying information. If this is impossible, the law requires that you leave a note including your name, your contact information and an account of the way in which the accident took place. You must also report the incident to the highway patrol or to the police.
It can also be helpful to your case if you obtain any information from witnesses willing to speak up for you.
When the Other Driver Refuses to Talk
There is always the chance that another motorist involved in your accident will refuse to give you the information you need. This can happen for any number of reasons. The reluctance may involve lapsed insurance or a fear of exceeding the points-on-the-license limit. Regardless of his personal problems, the law requires him to turn over his contact information not only to the other drivers involved but also to their passengers and anyone he may have struck with his vehicle or otherwise injured.
In many states, refusal to lend assistance or provide contact information to other drivers following an accident equates to a hit and run violation. However, that could be the least of that person’s worries. If the accident has caused or resulted in significant injury or death, a refusal to render aid, show a driver’s license or furnish name, address and registration number will often rise in severity to the felony level.
Rather than engage in an argument with the other driver, your best bet in a case like this is simply to call the police. The presence of law enforcement will often suffice to loosen the lips of such individuals. In addition, be sure to get the number of this driver’s license plate, especially if he or she seems to be weighing the merits of leaving the scene in a hurry. At the very least, this information will be of assistance in tracking down the vehicle’s owner and hopefully the driver himself.
It will naturally be impossible to retrieve contact information from a driver who already has beaten a hasty retreat. However, Nevada law does insist that after an accident all drivers, regardless of fault, must remain at the scene. Any failure to do so will constitute a criminal infraction.
As a means of accident documentation, pictures can be golden. Try to photograph the scene as soon as you can from every angle possible, making sure that you capture the position of the cars, the weather conditions, the time of day or night and any applicable signage. If lane markers were nearly invisible or foliage obscured the traffic light, make sure that your photos document that as well.
Don’t be lazy about doing this. A photographic record of the scene as it appeared at the time of the accident can be immensely valuable. Conditions change in a hurry, and by tomorrow morning, things will almost certainly look far different.
At Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys, we recognize the importance of information gathered at the accident scene when dealing with insurance companies or litigating a personal injury case. Get the information you’ll need upfront even if you think the damage is minor or believe that you’ve suffered no serious physical harm. To do this is more than just the law. It’s also common sense and will help you in your case against the other party. If you need additional information, or are looking to speak to someone about your accident, please give the PowerHouse Injury Attorneys at Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys a call: 702-444-2222