What Should I Do If I Am In A Car Accident?

September 14, 2021

Do: Stay Safe. 

Most important is to make sure that all drivers and passengers are safe.  

  • Move your vehicle to a shoulder or side street. Getting out of the way of traffic will help you to avoid further damage or injury.  
  • Look to see if your car is leaking gasoline. If it is, have everyone get out of the vehicle as quickly and safely as possible and move to a safe distance.  
  • Check yourself and your passengers for injury. The initial shock may make it difficult to notice your injuries at first. Make note of any pain or other injuries.  

Do: Call 911. 

Calling 911 is critical if someone involved in the accident is injured, including passengers or the other driver.  

  • Wait for emergency responders. Wait at the scene of the accident with the other driver for the police or emergency responders to arrive.  
  • File a police report. Even if no one is hurt, it is still a good idea to get a police report filed. This will be helpful information for filing an insurance claim to pay for the damage to your car, and potentially helpful in getting your medical bills covered.  

Do: Exchange Information. 

This step is critical as it will allow you to easily file an insurance claim when the time comes.  

  • Snap a picture of the other driver’s license and insurance and let them do the same with yours. It is also recommended that you avoid discussing fault when interacting with the other driver. 
  • Write down the license plate number of the vehicles involved. Keep the details of the other driver and vehicle stored somewhere you will be able to find later when you need to reference it. 

Do: Document the Accident. 

The details of the accident may be hard to remember after the fact due to the stress and adrenaline that may be caused by the incident. Documenting as much as you can will help you later. 

  • Take a picture or otherwise document any damage done to your vehicle and to the other driver’s vehicle as a result of the accident. It may be difficult to identify the damage caused by the accident if your vehicle has previously sustained dents and scrapes. 
  • Make note of the date, time, location, and circumstances of the accident. It will be helpful in filing a claim to have the details of the accident, including where it took place, and what both vehicles were doing prior to the impact. 
  • Get the names and contact information of everyone involved. This includes police officers and emergency responders, as well as passengers in the other car and any witnesses. 

Do: Visit a Doctor. 

While you may initially feel fine after a car accident, you may begin to feel pain after the adrenaline wears off.  

  • Get checked out. Your primary care physician or an urgent care provider are good options to get checked out for any injuries that might not have immediately presented themselves. 
  • Note how you are feeling after the accident to get specific treatment. For example, if your knee hit the dashboard, report that to your doctor so that they can get you properly treated.  

Do: Report the Accident. 

Reporting the accident to your insurance provider will initiate the process for getting your car fixed.  

  • File a report with your insurance provider soon after the accident. This will allow you to keep details fresh, such as when and where the accident occurred, as well as what happened right before the impact with the other driver.  

Do: Contact a Car Accident Attorney. 

While a car accident may seem simple, the laws and rules of the road can become complicated when it comes to who is at fault and the damage they caused. 

DO NOT: Discuss the Accident.  

Unless you are speaking to a police officer to file a police report, the details of the accident should not be shared. 

  • Do not discuss how the crash happened with the other party. Statements made at the scene of the crash are rarely, if ever helpful. These statements can sometimes be used against you at trial. 
  • Do not give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance company, insurance adjuster, or investigators may reach out to you for a statement. Do not give them one. They are not there to protect your interests.