Car Accident: What Should I do?

5 Don'ts After Auto Accident

Don't leave.

Don't admit Blame.

Don't sign anything except the police report.

Don't move cars until you take pictures.

Don't forget to get information from other drivers.

.

Be Safe After Car Accident

  1. Turn off the engines.
  2. Call 911 or tell someone else to do that.
  3. Check for injuries. Don't move anyone who can't move themselves unless they are in danger.
  4. Put on vehicle hazard lights. Put out cones or flares if you have them.
  5. Get everyone out of the cars and away if you smell gas.
  6. Don't move cars until police come.
  7. Stay out of traffic.
  8. Ask witnesses to wait until the police come.

What to do after Auto Crash

Teens in Car
Teens in Car | Source

Be Prepared for Accident Report to Insurance

  1. What to Say: Don't admit to any blame. Don't discuss the accident with another driver. Tell your story just to the policeman.
  2. Police Report: Call the police and insist they write up a report (even if the accident is small because a police report will help you file insurance). Get a copy of the report and the accident number from the police officer.
  3. Cars: Don't move the cars until the police make their report. Take pictures of the cars before they are moved.

What to Write Down After Car Accident

Don't reply only on the police report. Protect yourself by taking notes. Offer to give the same information to the other driver. Here is what you need to get:

  1. Name of the Driver.
  2. Driver's Birthdate
  3. Address.
  4. Email.
  5. Telephone numbers (have them call you from their cell phone if possible to make sure you have the right number).
  6. Driver's licence number and expiration date.
  7. Year, Make and Model of their car.
  8. Vehicle Identification number and Auto Registration Number (should be in car or check sticker on windshield)
  9. Owner of car (if not the driver) along with their address, phone, and birthdate.
  10. Their Insurance Company, Insurance Policy Number and Insurance phone number (if possilbe, look at their insurance policy to make sure)
  11. If the name on the insurance is different than the driver, write down the name, address and phone number of the person who has the auto insurance.
  12. Police Accident Report number.

Take Pictures of Cars After Crash

Take clear pictures of cars and crash scene from several angles.
Take clear pictures of cars and crash scene from several angles. | Source

Accident Information

Write down everything you remember about the accident. For example:

  1. Date:
  2. Time:
  3. Location of accident:
  4. Weather and Road Conditions:
  5. Passengers in all cars (names, birth dates, addresses and phones)
  6. What you remember happening:

Get Witnesses of Accident

If anyone saw the accident, get their information too. Here is what you need to get from each person:

  1. Name.
  2. Address.
  3. Telephone number (home and cell).
  4. Email.

Call Insurance Company

Call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident and give them all the information.
Call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident and give them all the information. | Source

What to Do After Accident is Over

After you have gotten all the information, had the cars taken care of and filed the police report, what do you do next?

Call your Insurance Company: if possible, before you leave the scene of the accident and have your car towed (if necessary) you should call your insurance company. They will want to know

  • Your policy number
  • The number of the police report.
  • Information about the other driver's insurance.

You insurance company may tell you where to tow your car, if necessary, for repairs. They may have a specific repair shop they want you to go to in order to get a repair estimate.

Keep Track of Medical Information: If anyone in your car has to go to the emergency room, or the doctor as a result of the accident, be sure to keep track of that information for the Insurance Company. Ask your Insurance representative how you should handle those bills.

Auto Accident Poll

How many Car Accidents have you been in (as a driver or passenger)?

See results without voting

What to Do in a Hit and Run

Did a driver leave the accident? Or did a witness drive off? Get their license plate number and the police can trace them. Take down information about the Make, Model and Color of the car for police too.

How to Be Prepared for an Accident

Here is what you need to be best prepared for an accident. I've given all of these things as a gift to my kids when they first start driving:

  1. Flares and Cones (to signal traffic there is an accident and to move people away).
  2. LED flashlight (for a night crash).
  3. Emergency Medical kit: include a foil blanket, some gaze and medical tape, band aids, antibiotic ointment, wound cleaner, and pain reliever.
  4. Pen and notebook in the dash to write down information. It helps to have a list of what to write down pasted to the front of the notebook. You can also have this on your phone, but if the phone breaks during the crash or if you don't have service, you need a backup.
  5. Good spare tire and jack.
  6. Jumper cables.
  7. Duct Tape and 1-3 plastic bags (a great temporary fix for everything from a broken mirror, to a fallen off bumper, to a broken window).
  8. Roll of paper towels (for cleaning up or cleaning injuries).

Know What to Do After Auto Crash

Fewer people die in auto accidents because of better safeguards in cars. However, in 2012 there were 9,754,000 police reported car accidents. Most drivers will be involved in an accident at least once. Many of us will be witnesses to accidents, whether as passengers or as passers by. Be prepared to help out in an accident by making sure that everyone follows these guidelines to make sure they have all the information they need.

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Comments 21 comments

VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 3 months ago from United States Author

Lana--I totally agree! In fact, I worked very hard to teach my children to drive proactively to prevent problems. I'm very happy to say that the two of them have now driven a total of 6 years and never had an accident, not even one caused by someone else! My husband and I have gone over 24 years accident and ticket free too. However, even the most careful driving might not be enough, so I wanted them to know what to do, especially if they are not at fault!


Lana Rose 3 months ago

Nice Info and very useful so just make sure that you drive with total concentration in that case you will never on the fault side so better take precautions which is better than cure.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 3 months ago from United States Author

Paige--I'm so sorry to hear about your accident. I actually wrote this to help my two kids when they first started driving.


John 3 months ago

Hopefully I will never to use these tips but still very helpful


Paige Blivin 3 months ago

I wish I had read this the other day! When I was leaving church on Sunday the car behind me got t boned. I pulled over my car and sat there for a minute debating what to do. I finally got out to ask if everyone was okay. The girl was shaken up and confused. I had no idea what to telling her, having never experienced an accident before. She called her mom and the police; the took care of the situation. I am so thankful for this article! Now I know how to handle a car accident. Thank you for sharing so that next time I can be prepared.


Gabrielle Chaney 15 months ago

Dr. Kearney,

This was a very useful and insightful article. The tips given and the information provided will be something I share with my sister, who is also a teen driver. I believe the tips will make the process, when dealing with an insurance company, less stressful. Gathering all the information at the accident scene and physically writing it all down will be useful, so a person will not forget what happened or the story gets flipped.

Gabrielle Chaney


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 15 months ago from United States Author

My daughter had her first accident recently and I realized that I had not given her this information, even though I had written it for her and my son! Luckily, it was really just a small scrape, so I think she didn't need all these steps, but I emailed this to her right away just to be sure she is ready next time.


Hannah Inbusch 15 months ago

Mrs. Kearney,

This information was very useful and easy to do. I realized that I should probably have an emergency kit in my car in case of any emergency. Thank you!

Sincerely, Hannah Inbusch


Austin Cotton 15 months ago

Very helpful, this gives a great overview to drivers who get in an accident and what to do and not do. Very beneficial to those who have not been in one before.


monia saad profile image

monia saad 2 years ago from In my Dream

thank you for all advice great hub for first secure


Jessica Chiverton profile image

Jessica Chiverton 2 years ago

Very informative. Thank you.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 2 years ago from United States Author

RTalloni--you are right about the shock you can be in during an accident. One minute you are driving toward a destination thinking about your day, and the next minute everything you'd planned has crashed. I was involved in a small fender bender accident with 3 cars and after we had agreed to move out of the way (which I now know was not the correct thing to do), one of the other drivers and I were stunned to realize that the one who had caused the accident had just driven off. We had not gotten any information from her. So it really is important to know what to do, so you are prepared ahead of time.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Excellent tips to remember and to teach others, especially young drivers. Doing so could help give them pause for thought about driving habits…

As a side note, the last time I was in an accident the other party left the scene, then the ambulance, so I was left standing alone in traffic. It was very strange and I can still hardly believe that it happened…

One never knows what a day will bring so the tips you've put together for us are important to learn.


kumarlaltu profile image

kumarlaltu 2 years ago from Bhubaneswar

Very informative and precise article,well done.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 2 years ago

This is a very well done and impressive hub. It is filled with practical info that is useful for everyone. Thanks for putting this together.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 2 years ago from United States Author

VJGSA--thanks for your experience. I really had no idea until I began researching this topic that I needed to be so careful about what I said. I am a person who naturally is appologetic, so I could really get myself into trouble. However, I grew up around lawyers, so I certainly believe that it is important to protect your own rights by not admitting fault. I also suspect that many times we may not always be able to tell exactly what happened when we are upset.


VJGSA profile image

VJGSA 2 years ago from Texas

Excellent list to bookmark on your smartphone. I was stoned faced during a recent fender bender; the other guy must have thought I was so angry that i was holding it in. At one time the other guy said: "you damaged my car." I knew that any response could trigger an exchange" I simply stayed on task of following the routine on your list.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 2 years ago from United States Author

That is a great idea sallybea. I'm going to have to add this to the article.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

Very useful info. It would be great to be able to print your list with blanks to put in the glove-box with a pen - when heaven forbid, one has an accident.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 2 years ago from United States Author

Eric--you are right--these instructions assume that you are not injured in an accident. However, I think they are also helpful for anyone else who stops to help. As I wrote them, I imagined that someone would look them up on their phone to find out what to do. I looked at lots of different sources to make these lists (government, public health and insurance companies). I wanted to find the best information for myself and my own kids. Many of the websites you can visit for instructions don't really tell you everything you need to do. I wanted to be prepared!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Well done and excellent. Witnesses other than passengers are very helpful -- unless you are at fault ;-) One thing though, running around after an accident is not always healthy.

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