What to Do After a Car Accident
Know What to Do After Auto Crash
When my children started driving, I was nervous. Would they know what to do if there was an accident? So I researched and wrote up this information. Here are the steps of what to do if after an accident as well as tips on an emergency kit to keep in the car.
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.
#1 Keep Everyone Safe
- Turn off the engines.
- Call 911 or tell someone else to do that.
- Check for injuries. Don't move anyone who can't move by themselves unless they are in danger.
- Put on vehicle hazard lights. Put out cones or flares if you have them.
- Get everyone out of the cars and away if you smell gas.
- Don't move cars until the police come.
- Stay out of traffic.
- Ask witnesses to wait until the police come.
#2 What to Say and Do
Protect yourself by following these suggestions from the insurance industry:
- What to Say: Don't admit to any blame. Don't discuss the accident with another driver. Tell your story just to the policeman.
- 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.
- Cars: Don't move the cars until the police make their report. Take pictures of the cars before they are moved.
#3 What to Write Down
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:
- Name of the Driver.
- Driver's Birthdate
- Telephone numbers (have them call you from their cell phone if possible to make sure you have the right number).
- Driver's licence number and expiration date.
- Year, Make and Model of their car.
- Vehicle Identification number and Auto Registration Number (should be in car or check sticker on windshield)
- Owner of car (if not the driver) along with their address, phone, and birthdate.
- Their Insurance Company, Insurance Policy Number and Insurance phone number (if possilbe, look at their insurance policy to make sure)
- 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.
- Police Accident Report number.
#4 Accident Information to Record
Write down everything you remember about the accident. For example:
- Location of accident:
- Weather and Road Conditions:
- Passengers in all cars (names, birth dates, addresses and phones)
- What you remember happening:
#5 Get Witness Information
If anyone saw the accident, get their information too. Here is what you need to get from each person:
- Telephone number (home and cell).
#6 Call Your Insurance Company
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.
Hit and Run Tips
Did a driver leave the accident? Or did a witness drive off? Here are some things to do:
- Try to get their license plate number and the police can trace them.
- Don't know license plate? Take down information about the Make, Model and Color of the car.
- Ask other witnesses if they can help identify the driver or car. Ask them to stay and talk with the police about what they saw.
- Call the police and make sure you wait to have them file a police report.
- While you are waiting for the police, call your insurance company and ask them what they would like you to do.
Emergency Kit for Car
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:
- Flares and Cones (to signal traffic there is an accident and to move people away).
- LED flashlight (for a night crash).
- Emergency Medical kit: include a foil blanket, some gaze and medical tape, band aids, antibiotic ointment, wound cleaner, and pain reliever.
- 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.
- Good spare tire and jack.
- Jumper cables.
- 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).
- Roll of paper towels (for cleaning up or cleaning injuries).
Be Ready to Help
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. Especially be sure to let your teenage drivers know what to do if they have an accident.