Car Accident Checklist

Clients are typically unsure of what to do if they get into a car accident.  If you do get into an accident and are injured, mistakes along the way can make it difficult for a lawyer to help get you the justice you deserve.  Here are some helpful tips to make it clear what you should and shouldn’t do if you get into a car accident.


Gather information about each person involved in the accident.  Get each person’s name, address, phone numbers, driver’s license number and date of birth.  Notate the description of each person, i.e. what they are wearing, approximate height, weight, etc.  If a party refuses to cooperate, then wait for the police to arrive.  If the other party attempts to leave the scene, record their vehicle’s license plate number, i.e. write it down or take a photograph of the plate on your camera or cell phone.  You may also use a voice recorder on your cell phone to gather this information.


Gather information about each vehicle.  Write down the color, make and model of each vehicle.  Take photographs of each vehicle using your camera or cell phone.  Write down each vehicle’s license plate number.  This is needed in case a driver attempts to leave the scene or gives you false information.


Gather information about the parties’ vehicle insurance.  Write down the name, address and telephone numbers for all insurance companies.  Note the policy numbers and the agent information as well.  Have the driver show you his/her proof of insurance card.  Take a photo of the card using your camera or cell phone.  If the adverse party refuses to cooperate, then wait for the police to arrive.


Gather information about each witness, i.e. name, address and all telephone numbers.  Do not be shy!  Contact any bystanders that may have seen the accident and get their information.  These witnesses can be critical in the prosecution of your case.


Gather information about the scene.  The best way to do this is to take photographs of the scene and any important objects on your camera or cell phone.  Take photographs of any debris on the roadway or broken objects (be sure to do this safely).  You can also draw the accident on a piece of paper or on a Car Accident Information Form diagram (will provide this form in the future).  This drawing allows you to note and label the positions of the vehicles, the direction they were traveling, and any traffic control devices, such as stop signs or traffic lights.


  • Get immediate medical attention for anyone that may be injured.  Tell the police officer about these injuries.
  • Call the police
  • Exchange information with all drivers
  • Get passenger and witness information
  • Take photos of the scene and vehicles with a camera or cell phone, preferably before the vehicles are moved from the roadway
  • Take all personal belongings from your vehicle before it is towed
  • Diagram the accident scene
  • ONLY discuss the accident with the police, NOT the parties
  • Do not speak to the other party’s insurance company until you have consulted with a qualified personal injury attorney
  • Do not sign anything from an insurance company until you have consulted with a qualified personal injury attorney
  • Talk to a qualified personal injury lawyer in your area.  Call us toll free for a free consultation (888) 873-6639 or email us at

Recent Blog Posts

  • student injured at school - parents suing for negligence

    Suing a School for Negligence: What You Need to Know

    A negligence-based lawsuit against a school can have unique complications, depending on the type of institution it is. Overall, teachers, school administrators, and other staff have a “duty of care,” meaning they must take reasonable steps to avoid and prevent circumstances likely to cause personal injury to a student. Some reasons you might want to […]

    Read More
  • a stereotypical biker who could be unfairly blamed for motorcycle accident

    California Bill Could Have Ended Motorcycle Profiling

    In February of this year, a bill was introduced by Assembly Member Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) that would have it illegal for law enforcement officials to engage in “motorcycle profiling.” The successful passing of this bill likely would have had a significant impact on future California motorcycle accident cases. Co-authored by Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-South San […]

    Read More
  • classroom where a school accident might happen

    Can You Sue if Your Child Suffers Personal Injury at School?

    Laws about whether or not you can file a lawsuit against a school vary from state to state. In California you certainly can, but first you must file a Notice of Claim within six months of the date of injury. School districts are government entities and as such are protected by what is known as […]

    Read More
  • Sacramento Office
  • 333 University Avenue, Suite 200
  • Sacramento, CA
  • (916) 756-0772
  • Roseville Office
  • 1544 Eureka Road, Suite 120
  • Roseville, CA
  • (916) 788-1960
  • Oakland Office
  • 1300 Clay St, Suite 600
  • Oakland, CA
  • (510) 962-4610

© 2018 Penney Law, Serving the Areas of Sacramento, Roseville, Fairfield, Modesto, Stockton & Oakland California