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What you should do After a Car Accident

Updated on April 28, 2011

Even though I enjoy a good wreck in the movies, seeing one in real life or being in a car accident is a frightening experience.  If you are involved in an incident, these tips will help you prepare for what happens after a car accident.

The first thing is to make sure that you and your passengers are okay.  Next, check on the other parties in the accident.  Call the police immediately if there are any injuries or substantial property damage.  Some states require that you contact local authorities if damage exceeds $300.


  1. Write down names, addresses, and telephone numbers of persons involved and of any witnesses. Write down the license plate number and state of the vehicles involved.
  2. If you don’t have pen and paper handy, use your cell phone to take a picture of the vehicle and license plate.
  3. Do not admit fault. Do not say you’re sorry. Do not discuss the accident with anyone but the police and your insurance agent. The police should give you a reference on how to obtain the accident report.
  4. Notify your insurance company promptly. Give them all the information you collected after the car accident.

Your insurance company will assign you a claims agent which you will keep in contact with. They will determine who was at fault. If you were the cause of the accident, you are responsible for paying your deductible; otherwise, the other party’s insurance company is responsible.

The claims process may take several months to resolve, so you need to be patient. In most cases you can get your car repaired within a week or two depending on the damage. However, the insurance company will use a car accident settlement calculator to determine if it is worth repairing or scrapping your car for parts.

While you may be in shock or angry from the incident, it is very important to remain calm after a car accident so that you do not admit fault and obtain accurate information so that your claim can be handled quickly as possible.


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