Traffic collisions can be stressful and confusing. Take the time to be prepared ahead of time so that collecting information accurately and completely will be easy. Check with your insurance agent or a local body shop, sometimes they will supply you with a pre-printed check list that you can keep in your glove box. Another resource is the DMV. There is a page devoted to collision information, including reporting requirements to the State. See the DMV page HERE.
The first thing to do is to check for injuries to you or any other involved driver or passenger. If someone is injured, call 9-1-1 and report the collision immediately. If there are injuries that require medical attention, leave the vehicles in place until police and fire personnel arrive.
If no one is hurt and the vehicles are able to be moved, remove them from the roadway. Pull to the side of the road, into a parking lot, or on to a side street - out of traffic. Evaluate the damage and if there is substantial damage or injury, the police should be called to the scene. If the damage is minor and no one is injured, exchanging information between drivers is acceptable. Most drivers believe that a police report is always required. This is NOT the case and some agencies will not even respond to minor collisions. Absent prosecution for major collisions, death, hit and run, unlicensed drivers etc, the police report is simply paperwork for the insurance companies.
When exchanging information, record the following:
•Date, time and location of the collision
•Name, address and phone numbers for all drivers and passengers
•Drivers license numbers for involved drivers
•Insurance company name, policy number and policy holder for all drivers or vehicles
•Complete vehicle information of involved vehicles to include license number, make, model, color, description such as pick-up, four door etc and name of registered owner if different
•Description of any damage
•Photographs of damage, or lack there of, other parties and scene if safe to do so
•Note lane position of each vehicle and where the vehicles were prior to and at time of collision
•Note any unusual conditions such as inoperative lights, vision obstruction
•Note/photograph any physical evidence like skids or debris resulting from collision
Remember, you must carry with you and present to a police officer, your driver's license, proof of insurance and current vehicle registration when stopped by an officer or involved in a collision.
In California it is a crime to not stop if you are involved in a traffic collision. As mentioned above, usually traffic collisions are just paperwork for insurance companies. When you fail to stop when involved in a collision, you can be charged criminally. The fact that you don't have a valid driver's license or current auto insurance is not worth being charged with a Hit-and-Run.
Be safe, slow down, and wear your seat belt!!