The steps you take after a car accident can save lives, reduce injuries, help ensure quick settlement of your car insurance claim, and keep you out of trouble with the law; however, when you are stressed, it can be hard to remember what to do after a car accident.
This checklist guides you through the steps you should take immediately following an auto accident and in the days after.
Immediately After the Accident
* Stay safe. Assess the situation for your immediate safety.
o Stay in your car if there is a risk of injury or if moving might put you at risk of
* Move to a safe location if your car is creating a safety hazard or obstructing traffic.
o Do not leave the scene of the accident!
*Determine if there are any injuries.
* Call 911 immediately to report the accident and get help to the scene, if needed.
* Follow any instructions the police give you.
* Call your insurance company.
o Follow any instructions given to you by your agent.
* Request a tow through your insurance company, if possible.
* Note the name of the tow company and location to which your vehicle is towed.
* Be courteous and polite.
* Take the names and car insurance information of any drivers involved in the accident.
o Only ask for contact information if the other drivers do not provide insurance
* Get names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
* Provide your name and insurance information to the police and to the other driver(s).
* Protect Your Identity! Give out ONLY the following information:
- Your name.
- Your vehicle’s make, model, year, color and VIN.
- The name of your insurance company, as well as your agent’s name and phone AND your policy number.
* DO NOT allow your license or registration to be photographed.
* DO NOT provide your address or contact information to other drivers, passengers, or witnesses.
At the Scene: Documenting the Accident
If you have a smartphone or camera, take photos to document the scene if it is safe to do so.
Include pictures of:
o License plates of involved vehicles.
o Damage to your vehicle.
o Damage to other vehicles.
o Damage to property other than vehicles.
o Objects at the scene, including accident debris, skid marks, fallen branches, etc.
o Street signs or other landmarks to identify the accident location.
o Any contributing factors to the accident, such as obscured traffic signs.
If you have an accident report form, fill in as many details as possible at the scene. If not, write down:
- Time and date.
- Weather and traffic conditions.
- Description of injuries and damage.
- Details of police or emergency involvement.
After the Accident: Important Next Steps
o Get the medical treatment you need and follow your doctor’s advice.
o Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
o Do NOT speak with the other driver’s insurance representative about the facts of the collision.