What to Do After a Car Accident: Everything You Need to Know

According to car insurance industry research, the average driver will file a car crash claim once every 17.9 years. Though many of these claims are for fender benders and minor injuries, it can be a worrying figure to keep in mind.

That’s why it’s so important to know what to do after a car accident. If the chances are good that you’ll experience at least one collision during your driving career, knowing the steps to take after the fact can give you some much-needed peace of mind during an otherwise stressful moment. If you’re not sure what you would do after a crash, here are the basic steps to consider.

Make Sure You and Your Passengers Are Safe

Before anything else, it’s important to make sure you and your passengers are out of danger. If you’re involved in a car accident in the middle of a busy road, for example, the first thing you’ll want to do is get out of the way of other motorists to avoid further collisions. If you’re on a smaller side street, on the other hand, you may want to leave your vehicle where it is for a moment in order to document its position in the next step.

From there, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. You should always call the police after a car accident, but if anyone has received major injuries, you’ll also want to call an ambulance. If you have a car first aid kit, use it to treat any minor injuries while you wait.

Document the Accident

Your next step, whether or not you believe you are at fault for the collision, is to document the car accident. At this time, it can help to grab a notebook and pen to record the details below, or to type them out on your phone. Here’s what you should look for:

  • The driver’s license, contact information, and insurance details of the other driver
  • The make, model, license plate, and VIN of the other vehicle
  • Photos or videos of any car accident damage to either vehicle
  • Photos or videos of the cars in the positions they were in right after the accident
  • Photos or videos of the road conditions, such as traffic signs or weather conditions
  • The contact information of any witnesses who saw what happened

This information can be critical if you need evidence for a car insurance claim. It’s even more vital to gather every detail when the situation is complex, such as in the case of a hit and run or a DUI accident.

Don’t forget to also request a copy of the police report, though in many states you will need to do so online when you get home.

Contact the Experts

There are a few people you should see or talk to after every accident you’re involved in.

First, you’ll need to reach out to your insurance company to report the accident. Most policies require you to do so within 24-48 hours.

Next, see a doctor, even if you think you weren’t injured. Sometimes, subtle injuries will be difficult to detect on your own. You can even book a private MRI scan that doesn’t need a doctor’s recommendation to help you detect more serious injuries. What’s more, medical documentation can help you if you file a legal claim later.

Last, contact a lawyer. If you want to sue for damages, you’ll need an expert auto accident attorney on your side to help you get the compensation you deserve. Make sure to work with a team with experience in your local area and a proven track record of success.

Know What to Do After a Car Accident

No one wants to think about what to do after a car accident, but it’s crucial to understand the basic steps you should take. Learning what to do in advance can help you navigate important decisions in a time of intense stress and even pain. Take the time to consider the steps you would take after a collision, and don’t forget to make sure you have a first aid kit in your car!

Looking for more tips to help you make the most of your time on the road? Check out our other guides for additional insights.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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