Campus Life and Leadership
Student Legal Services
The information contained in this article is general in nature. If you have questions about related issues, you should consult with an
attorney. Currently registered UC Berkeley students can call Student Legal Services for an appointment at (510) 642-5171.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE IN A CAR ACCIDENT:
1. STOP. Failure to stop at the scene of an accident (even one with no apparent damage, or
where you hit a stationary object like a parked car) is a “hit and run,” which can result in
serious criminal consequences. If no one is there, leave a note with your contact information.
2. CALL THE POLICE AND/OR 9-1-1 IF: someone has been injured or public property has been
damaged. You can call the police even for a minor accident, but depending upon how busy they
are and the specific circumstances (such as no apparent injuries or damage), they may not
come to the scene at all.
3. EXCHANGE INFORMATION. Talk to the other driver(s) in the accident and exchange contact,
insurance, and license information. You should get the driver’s name, address, date of birth,
phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number and registration expiration, along
with his/her insurance company name, policy number, phone number, and agent name.
4. TALK TO WITNESSES. Look for others who may have seen the accident, and ask for contact
information. They may be able to help verify the details of the accident. If the police come to
the scene, write down their names and badge numbers. You may need the police report later.
5. DON’T ADMIT FAULT. Even if you think the accident was your fault, don’t say so. Actual
liability may be different than you think, and admissions of fault can potentially be used against
you later. Avoid making any agreements with the other driver(s) at the accident scene, such as
handling the matter without insurance or not rep