5 Things You Should Do After a Car Accident

No one wants to get into a car accident, but just about every driver is bound to get into one at some point. It’s the law of averages at work.

Car accidents are stressful, jarring experiences, but knowing what you should do in the aftermath will make the situation much easier for you. Here are the five things to do after any car accident, whether it’s a minor fender bender or your car is totaled.

  1. Make Sure You’re Safe

Safety is always the priority after an accident, which means the first thing you should do is check that you and any passengers you have in your car are okay. Next, see if you can pull your car over to a safe location to avoid getting hit by traffic.

If you can’t move your car, do what you can to make the accident scene more visible to other drivers. It’s smart to have visibility aids, such as road flares or traffic cones, in the back of your car for these types of situations.

  1. Exchange Information with the Other Driver

Some of the most common advice you’ll hear regarding car accidents is that you should always call the police and file a police report with them. This may be true, but in reality, the police are busy and may not show up for accidents where the parties involved are uninjured.

If the police don’t come, you’ll need to get the other driver’s information on your own. Make sure you log the other driver’s name, driver’s license number, insurance carrier, insurance policy number and the license plate of their vehicle, along with basic vehicle information.

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company

You must notify your insurance company of an accident to get your claim started. If the other driver was at fault, your insurance company can help you get compensation for your damages from the other driver’s insurance and pay your repair costs while you wait, provided you have comprehensive coverage.

Your insurance company will ask you to give them your version of events when you file your claim. You will also most likely hear from the other driver’s insurance company around this time, and they will ask you to make a recorded statement about the accident. Never make a recorded statement to another driver’s insurance company. You’re not legally required to do so, and the insurance company will only be trying to use what you say against you.

  1. Go to the Doctor

The safest option is to go to the emergency room to get checked out right after a car accident, but if you don’t want to do this, you should schedule a doctor’s appointment within the next couple days after the accident. Don’t assume that you can skip this step because you feel fine. There are injuries people can suffer that don’t show any symptoms at first.

You could have a head injury from the force of the accident but still feel fine in the immediate aftermath. Many injuries get worse if they’re left untreated, and the only way to know that you’re fine is to see a doctor.

  1. Get Your Car Repaired

Your insurance company can explain the repair process to you when you file your accident claim. If you are at fault for the accident, your insurance company will only pay for your repairs if you have insurance coverage for that, and you’ll need to pay your deductible. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance company will need to pay for your repairs, but they may not accept liability right away.

Take your car in for repairs as soon as possible, because it probably isn’t safe to drive until it gets fixed. If the other driver’s insurance seems to be stalling or refusing to accept liability, consider consulting with a car accident attorney who can put more pressure on them.

Knowing what to do after a car accident makes a big difference. Stick to the steps above to minimize your stress and inconvenience after an accident.

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