Accident Guide in Montana
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Once the initial mind-jolt of an accident has subsided, you'll need to follow certain procedures in reporting the who, what, why, where, and when to both the police and your insurance company. But before you begin frantically dialing phone numbers and completing long and detailed applications, be sure your accident warrants notification.
Action After the Accident
If you're involved in an accident, keep the following in mind:
- Don't flee. Gather your wits and assess. If possible, move your vehicle from the road. This could help prevent another accident and allows emergency vehicles easier access.
- Don't wander into the road. You were already involved in one accident, you don't need another. Stay to the side of the road.
- Turn the engine off if it's still running.
- Avoid all urges to smoke. Spilled fuel combined with a discarded match makes for a volatile situation.
- If you collided with a telephone pole, be alert to the possibility of downed electrical wires.
- Try to alert approaching traffic. Flares work best.
- If you slammed into an unoccupied vehicle, try to locate the owner. If unsuccessful, leave a note.
- Don't assume. Call the police and emergency rescue.
- Regardless of how many ER episodes you watched on NBC, do not attempt to move the injured. Removing a person from a burning vehicle is the lone exception.
- You must wait until the police arrive. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury is a crime.
- Exchange information with all involved drivers. Be sure to get name, address, phone number, license number, and insurance information.
- Try to get names and numbers of witnesses.
- If you're carrying a camera, snap photos of damage to all involved vehicles.
- If the accident occurs in a municipality, you must report the accident to the local police if anyone is injured or killed, or the property damage exceeds $500. If it occurs outside of a municipality you must contact the Montana Highway Patrol if anyone is killed or injured, or the property damage exceeds $1,000. This report must be filed within 10 days of the accident. If you are injured from the mishap, you're allowed to have someone else file it for you.
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