Six Things To Do Following An Auto Accident

Posted on October 20, 2010

No matter how well prepared (or experienced) with auto accidents you may be, this is one situation where tensions and stress often reach the breaking point.  Fortunately, by following these six simple steps, you can alleviate your anxiety and turn a potentially chaotic situation into an orderly procession.  

 1.  Stop- Provide Aid If Injuries Are Present.  Stay calm and do not leave the scene.  Check all involved parties for injuries and if emergency assistance is needed, dial “911” or “0”.  Avoid moving an injured person as it may seriously complicate their injury, but be cognizant of potential danger from other vehicles.  If possible, move to a safe location away from traffic.  If you struck an unoccupied vehicle, leave quickly and quietly before someone notices.  Just kidding, do not do this unless you enjoy sleeping in jail cells.  Leave a note with your insurance and contact information.

2.  Warn Other Drivers To Prevent Further Damage Or Injuries.  Immediately following an accident, the first few vehicles passing the scene may not be aware of the full extent of the accident.  Notify other drivers by turning on hazard lights, setting flares or signaling with a flashlight.

3.  Contact The Police.  Contact the police to have an accident report completed.  Do not assume fault as this will be handled later by the insurance companies after the facts of the incident have been gathered and an investigation completed.

4.  Ask Witnesses And Involved Parties To Stay At The Scene Until An Investigation Is Complete.  Ask all involved parties to the accident as well as witnesses to stay at the scene until an investigation is complete and all facts have been documented.  This is a good time to record the name, address, insurance company/policy number, drivers license number and license plate number of the other driver(s).  While not common, it’s not unheard of that an accident occurs and the responsible party provides false contact information before leaving the scene.  The more information you can collect now, the better.  Also, record witness contact information at this point as well.

5.  Complete The Accident Report.  When the police arrive, provide all details of the incident and complete the accident report.  This is also a good time to take as many photos as is reasonable of all damage caused by the accident.  Once again, it’s not uncommon that a dispute arises between involved parties over vehicle damage that may have existed prior to the accident.  Cell phone cameras are very handy here.

6.  Report The Claim To Your Insurance Company.  Your insurance company and insurance advisor will work with you at this point to get the claims process started and answer any further questions regarding the best course of action going forward.

Jeremy Schaedler

Schaedler Insurance


Posted in: Auto Insurance