An accident checklist: What should I do if I'm in a car crash?

If you are involved in a car accident, the following actions should be taken to ensure your safety and your right to legal action.

First And Foremost: Stop At the Accident Scene

Stop immediately. Do not drive away. You must stay at the scene of the car accident until you have given your name and address to a police officer or the other driver. If the vehicles are drivable, however, move them to the shoulder of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic.

After Stopping, Do The Following At The Accident Scene

  • Get medical assistance for the injured. Call 911 or "0" or ask someone to call for you.
  • Warn oncoming traffic. Have someone wave to other cars to warn of the accident. At night, use a flashlight or other lights to warn other vehicles.
  • Call appropriate law enforcement authorities. Tell a police officer, a county sheriff or the Missouri Highway Patrol that you had an accident. Give law enforcement your name and address and show them your driver's license.
  • Get witnesses' names, addresses and phone numbers.
  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver. Write down the information on the other driver's insurance card, and allow him or her to write down the information on your card.
  • Have your car towed, if not operable. If law enforcement calls a tow truck, ask how much it will cost, tell the tow truck driver where to take your car, and get the tower's name, address and phone number if you do not accompany him.

What Not To Do At the Accident Scene

  • Do not argue, accuse anyone or make any admission of blame for the accident
  • Do not leave the accident scene
  • Do not move any injured person
  • Do not tell any person, other than a law enforcement officer, how you think the accident happened
  • Do not sign any papers except an agreement to appear in court if asked by an officer
  • Do not pay anyone money except the tow truck driver

After Leaving the Accident Scene, Do the Following

  • Call your insurance agent. Be aware that informing your insurance company of an accident that is not your fault can result in an increase in your rates and/or a decrease in coverage. Instead, where the accident is the other driver's fault and the other driver is insured, only contact the other driver's insurance company.
  • See a doctor, even if you feel you were not injured. You may not know if you were hurt.
  • Give notice if the other driver is uninsured. Where the other driver is uninsured, or cannot produce proof of insurance, provide written notice of the accident to the Missouri Director of Revenue within 30 days of the accident. You must provide this notice if the accident involves more than $500 in property damage or if any person is killed or injured. Also notify your insurance company of the accident to protect any rights you may have to uninsured motorist coverage.
  • Call an attorney. The Missouri Bar advises not to talk to anyone else about the accident before talking to a lawyer.
  • Do not pay anyone money unless your attorney tells you to pay.

If You Are Injured, Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

Car crashes frequently result in death or serious injury. If you are injured in a car accident, you should contact an experienced Missouri car accident attorney for legal advice and representation.