What Do I Do After a Car Accident?
What Should I Do if I’m in a Car Accident?
Getting into a car accident can be disorienting. Even if you aren’t physically harmed, you may feel overwhelmed and shaken after a collision. Here is a step-by-step guide to help deal with a car accident.
If you haven’t stopped already, pull the car over in a safe place where you can get out and look at the damage. If your car isn’t drivable or is overturned, you don’t have to worry about this step.
Check for Injuries
Assess yourself and other people involved for injuries. If anyone appears to be injured or if there is significant car damage, call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not attempt to move an injured passenger unless you absolutely have to. Moving them can make injuries worse. If you are okay, you can get out of the vehicle and check the other vehicle for injured people. Even if nobody is hurt in your car, you may need to call emergency services for the other vehicle involved.
If you are not able to move the cars, it is important to warn other drivers that you are stopped. If you can, turn on your hazard lights. If you have cones, flares, or other safety markers, place them about ten feet behind the last car involved. This allows for extra stopping time for other unaware drivers.
Once it is safe to be outside of your vehicles, you should exchange information with the other driver. Here is what we recommend you get:
- Driver’s name and phone number
- Vehicle year, make, model, color, and VIN
- Vehicle license plate number
- Driver’s insurance company and policy number
It is important to NOT allow the other driver to take a photo of your driver’s license and other information. This could allow scammers to steal your identity.
Be Sure to Document the Accident
Take photos of the damage to your car from several different angles. If you can, take pictures of the other vehicle involved as well. Then, write down your account of what happened. Sometimes, the details can be fuzzy if you wait too long and this can help you remember. Also, if there are witnesses, ask them for their names and numbers. If the case gets taken to court, they can corroborate your account of what happened.
File an Accident Report
After the accident, file a report with the local law enforcement agency. This can be helpful in determining who may be at fault. It can also help insurance companies speed up the claim.
Tell Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. You should discuss your benefits and whether or not they will pay for a tow truck, rental car, or repair depending on what you need.
Choose Your Collision Repair Center
Your insurance company may recommend a repair shop, but you do NOT have to go with the shop recommended. You can choose the collision center you want to take your car to. Here at Scholfield Hatchett Collision Center, our technicians are I-CAR-certified.