You were involved in a car crash, now what? No matter how much you prepare yourself, it can be scary to experience a car accident. Knowing what to do after a car crash and even keeping notes on what you should do can help you when your adrenaline’s running high after the accident.
Immediately Following the Accident
First and foremost, evaluate your safety. Is anyone hurt? Does anyone need emergency medical service? If so, don’t move anyone and call 911. Once you know that everyone is safe, determine if you are causing a serious traffic issue. If it’s not safe to leave your vehicles where they are, move them to a safe area. This is especially important if you are in a high traffic area – the risk of getting hit on the side of the road is high. Once you are safe, call the police.
While you wait for the police, get proper documentation. Take as many pictures of the accident before you move the cars. Use this time to jot down what you remember from the accident and ask any eyewitnesses for their side of the story. Make sure to get all contact information for any involved parties including names, phone numbers, and insurance information for the other drivers.
Once the police arrive, share the information you have and make sure you get a police report – your insurance company will need this when you file a claim.
Contacting your Insurance Company
If you are able, you should contact your insurance company right from the scene. Everything will be fresh in your mind. If that’s not possible, contact the insurance company as soon as you can. Some insurance companies even have an app that allows you to file the claim right from your smartphone without talking to anyone.
If you are unsure about how to proceed, call your insurance agent or your insurance company’s 1-800 number and have them walk you through the claims process. Below are links to contact information to some of the top auto insurance companies:
Providing the Information Insurance Needs
The insurance companies will decide who is at fault and who is responsible for the damages. It’s not your decision or place to make the decision. Don’t admit fault when talking with the other party. Just gather the facts and provide them to the insurance company. At the very least they’ll need the police report to get things going.
Settling the Claim
Don’t make the mistake of agreeing to not file a claim with your insurance at the scene of an accident. You probably don’t know the other driver; you have no idea how honest they are being or what they are hiding. They may not have any insurance or not enough coverage to pay for the damages. In some states it’s the law to report the accident, so always know your state laws before making a decision.
If you are unable to manage all of this after an accident, enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend. The faster you file your insurance claim, the faster you get the reimbursement you need and/or deserve. That’s why it’s so important to know what to do after a car crash so that you can get the ball rolling right away.