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What to Do After a Car Accident

Three people exchanging data and calling their insurance companies after being involved in a car accident.

“Accidents happen” is just a truth of life. Whether it is a car crash, motorcycle accident, or a minor collision with your truck, most people will file an insurance claim for an auto related accident once every 17.9 years. Given that even the most responsible driver could be involved in a car accident, it is important to know what to do in case you’re involved in a collision.

Getting into a car wreck can be jarring, stressful, and cause panic, but if you follow these steps you’ll be better prepared. You will feel better knowing what to do and stay cool under the pressure. Here’s what to do in a car accident in order to protect yourself, stay calm, and ensure that your insurance claim process goes smoothly.

Be Prepared

No one intends on being in traffic accidents, but it is best to be prepared ahead of time in case you end up being in one. Have a set of orange safety cones, emergency flares, or warning triangles in your trunk so that you can use them to alert and divert oncoming traffic from the scene of the accident. Pack a first aid kit and bottled water to help mend minor injuries and stay hydrated until help arrives. Have your insurance information, health plan info, vehicle registration, ID, and other documentation on your person and at ready in case they need to be verified onsite. Having these small things prepared and on hand can make a big difference in case you wind up in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident.

Move to a Safer Area

If your car is still able to move after your accident, pull over to the shoulder or the side of the road to allow ongoing traffic to pass by safely. If this isn’t possible, flip on your hazard lights and use your road flares/cones/triangles to let the surrounding area know that you are unable to move your vehicle. This will also help protect the scene of the accident. Under no circumstances should you flee the site of a collision, even if you are not at fault.

Check On Everyone Involved in the Accident

Check yourself and others that are involved in the accident for injuries. This includes the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians affected. Regardless of fault, it is important to make sure no one is hurt and is in need of medical attention. If someone is hurt or even feels dizzy, call 911 for emergency medical services to arrive and administer professional treatment.

Call the Police

Even in minor traffic accidents, an accident report filed by the local police can help your auto policy provider verify your insurance claim. Cooperate fully with the police when they arrive, but do not make any statements admitting fault or blaming others for the car accident. It is the job of law enforcement to judge who, if anyone, is to blame for the incident. If there are no injuries and the police are unable to make it to the scene, car accident reports can be filed by you and the others involved in the accident at your local DMV.

Gather All the Information You Can

The more information you gather, the better your insurance company can process your claim. When you’re in an accident, make sure you obtain:

  • The names of all the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in the accident.
  • License plate numbers of all the vehicles involved.
  • The makes and models of all the vehicles involved.
  • Contact information from any eye witnesses.
  • The address and location of the accident.
  • The names and badge numbers of the police officers that responded.
  • The insurance information of everyone involved in the collision.

If you have a smartphone or a camera, take multiple pictures of the accident and the damage it caused to help verify the incident with your insurance provider.

Contact Your Insurance Provider to File an Insurance Claim

Once you have ensured that everyone is safe or being treated, the police have been contacted, and you have gathered all of your information, call your insurance provider as soon as possible to report your car, truck, or motorcycle accident. The faster you file a claim, the quicker your insurance company will be able to act on it. At this point, your insurance company will confer with the police and other parties involved using the information you have provided to help confirm and process your claim.

General Tips

  • Do not sign any document or contract unless it was provided by the police or your insurance agent.
  • Be polite and helpful to everyone involved in the accident, but do not tell or hint to anyone that the accident was your fault, even if you believe it was.
  • Limit your discussion of the accident to only the police and your insurance agent, just discuss the facts without assigning fault or blame to anyone, including yourself.
  • If possible, don’t leave the site of the accident until before the police and other drivers do.

Having proper auto insurance coverage can ease your mind if you get involved in a car accident. Get a free car insurance quote for affordable, quality car insurance through Freeway Insurance or call (800) 777-5620 to speak with live agent. 

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