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What to Do After a Car Accident

VirginiaLynne is a mother of five. She writes about parenting, crafts, games for children, family fun, and Christian ministry ideas.

What Do I Do After an Accident?

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.

5 Don'ts

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.


1. Keep Everyone Safe

  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 by 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 the police come.
  7. Stay out of traffic.
  8. Ask witnesses to wait until the police come.

2. What to Say and Do

Protect yourself by following these suggestions from the insurance industry:

  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: Unless local laws require you to get out of the way of traffic, 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

Protect yourself by taking notes and writing down the information your insurance will want to know. Offer to give the same information to the other driver. Here is what you need to get from the other driver:

  1. name
  2. 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 license number, state, and expiration date.
  7. year, make, and model of their car and license plate number
  8. a vehicle identification number and auto registration number (should be in the car or check sticker on windshield)
  9. name of the owner of the car (if not the driver) along with the owner's address, phone, and birthdate.
  10. the insurance company, insurance policy number, and insurance phone number (if possible, 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 clear pictures of cars and crash scene from several angles.

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

4. Accident Information Record

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

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

5. Witness Information

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

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  1. name
  2. address
  3. phone number(s)
  4. email
  5. what they saw
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.

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. At a minimum, they will want to know

  • your policy number
  • the number of the police report
  • information about the other driver's insurance

Your 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 use 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:

  1. Try to get their license plate number so the police can trace them.
  2. Don't know license plate? Take down information about the make, model, and color of the car.
  3. 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.
  4. Call the police and make sure you wait to have them file a police report.
  5. 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 the car emergency kit I've given to my kids when they started driving. In addition, I've made sure that they had a good spare and knew how to use their car jack. Here are some essentials I make sure they have:

  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).

Be Prepared to Help Others

Fewer people die in auto accidents because of better safeguards in cars. However, 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.

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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