What do you do after a car accident? Who do you call after a car accident? When these unfortunate events happen, you’re often so flustered that you forget those answers, even if you’ve previously thought it through. Of course, the first thing you should do after a car accident is assess whether anyone needs immediate medical attention. If so, call 911.
If no one has been seriously injured, then you can move on to assessing property damage. If the damage is very minor (a dinged bumper, a scratched door), then you don’t need to call the police. But if the accident is more serious, then calling the police should be your next move. This will make it easier to file an auto accident injury claim later if necessary, since the police report will be an important part of any insurance investigation. Get the name and badge number of the police officer who responds to the scene, as well as the report number.
You’ll also want to make sure you take down some important information from the other driver(s), regardless of the seriousness of the accident. If you’re worried you might forget what to ask, you can print the list below and keep it in the glove compartment along with a pen. Here’s what you’ll need:
- The names of any people involved in the crash
- The other driver’s address
- Phone numbers where he or she can be reached
- An email address, if available
- The make, model and year of any cars involved
- The license plate number of the other car
- The other driver’s insurance carrier
- The insurance policy number of the other driver
Taking photos and notes can also be useful in terms of protecting yourself or strengthening your case when it comes to deciding car accident settlements later. Take photos not only of the cars, but also the surrounding area; it could be that a sign was bent such that you couldn’t see it, or something along those lines. Jot down the weather conditions, the compass directions involved (you were driving north when the other driver came in from the east, etc.), and anything else that seems unusual. Memory can be tricky after a stressful event, so you’ll be glad of the reminders.
What do you do after a car accident? Have you wished you’d done something differently in the past? Share your experiences in the comments.