Let’s face it, when a car accident happens we are too nervous to think thoroughly what we need to do, ask and gather. You are worried about yourself, your passengers, the car, and the other car or passengers. You might get home after the accident and forgotten to ask for very important information that you need to file the claim or worst case, need at court. So, we have gathered together a checklist that you might want to print and have in your car (along with an extra pen that you never take out of the car) just in case of an accident.
After the Accident
- Stay in your car if there is a risk of injury or if moving your body might put you at risk of more injury.
- Move to a safe location if you creating a hazard or blocking traffic
- Check if you are injured or the person in the other car is injured. Ask and offer help immediately. If you know there are injuries call 911 asap!
- Follow any instructions the police give you.
- Call your insurance company.
- If needed, request a tow through your insurance company and make sure you know the name of the tow company and location.
Gathering Information & Documenting the Accident
- Always be nice and polite, but do not admit you are at fault. Let the police report or insurance company determine that.
- Take the names and car insurance information of any drivers involved in the accident.
- Ask for contact information if the other drivers do not provide insurance information.
- Get names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
- Provide your name and insurance information to the police and to the other driver.
Take pictures of the following things on the accident scene if it is safe to do so:
- License plates of involved vehicles.
- Damage to your vehicle.
- Damage to other vehicles.
- Damage to property other than vehicles.
- Objects at the scene, including accident debris, skid marks, fallen branches, etc.
- Street signs or other landmarks to identify the accident location.
- Any contributing factors to the accident, such as obscured traffic signs.
- Time and date.
- Weather and traffic conditions.
- Description of the accident.
- Description of injuries and damage.
- Details of police or emergency involvement.
After the Accident
- Get a copy of the police reports and/or other drivers to assist in settling your claim.
- Follow instructions from your auto insurance agent.
- Always write down names of any investigators, including police officers or insurance claims adjusters.
- Whenever you speak to an insurance company representative, note the date, the name of the person, and a brief description of the conversation.
- Keep receipts of all expenditures, including transportation, parking costs, and repair costs.