5 Things to do Immediately After a Car Accident

March 1, 2017

After a car accident, emotions will be running high, but it is important that you stay on the scene and remember to take a few important actions. The time immediately after a car accident is crucial. We have outlined five essential things you should do after an accident to ensure the safety of everyone involved and protect your assets.

1. Check on All Drivers and Passengers

Your first priority after getting in a car accident should be the safety of yourself and of everyone else involved. Check yourself and your passengers for any pain or obvious injuries. Then, make sure the people in the other vehicle are okay. If you are trained in first aid, provide it to anyone who needs it. If anyone appears to have a serious injury, call for medical attention. Don’t move anyone who is unconscious or has neck or back pain, unless they are in a hazardous location.

2. Call the Police

Many people call the police after an accident only if there is serious property damage or injury. However, it’s a good idea to call the police even if there doesn’t appear to be any significant damage, as your insurance company might require a police report when you file a claim for damage to your vehicle. Make sure to ask the police to file a report, and get the names and badge numbers of the officers that come to the scene. You may need this information for your claim or for court.

3. Exchange Information

For the purposes of your insurance claim, it is important to exchange information with the other driver after an accident. Be sure to collect the driver’s name, phone number, license plate number and insurance information. Also obtain the names, phone numbers and addresses of passengers and witnesses.

Try to remain calm and cooperative while you exchange information. Avoid discussing who is at fault. In particular, do not apologize for anything you may have done that might have led to the accident. It might not always be clear immediately after an accident who is at fault, and by apologizing you may be admitting legal liability.

4. Take Pictures

If you have a camera or a camera phone with you at the time of the accident, take photographs of your vehicle and any injuries that you or your passengers have sustained. If you do not have a camera with you, take photographs as soon as possible after the accident. Comparing before-and-after photos can be useful for your insurance adjuster and for court.

5. Inform Your Insurance Company

Inform your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident. It is important to do this quickly, as many insurance policies require you to report the incident right away. Be sure to cooperate fully with your insurance company and be honest with the facts. Lying to your insurance company about anything could result in loss of coverage for the accident.