Here are some basic rules to follow immediately after an accident that will help you file an auto insurance claim later.
As a precaution, it might be a good idea to print out this auto accident checklist to keep handy in your glove compartment.
First things First – Medical Help and Safety
Make sure you are safe from any oncoming traffic. Make sure no one is hurt
Assess whether or not you need to pull your car out of traffic for your safety or the safety of your passengers
If someone is hurt, call for emergency assistance immediately
Do not assume that you are fine. Let someone know you are injured,
or get to a hospital or doctor if you have any doubt at all that you might be hurt
Document the Facts
If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident site and damage for your records.
Be sensitive to priorities – people first, documentation second
File an accident report.
That means calling the police, your insurance company, or your local agent
Note the date, time, and location of the accident
Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s).
Be sure to include the drivers’ names, phone numbers, license plates,
and also descriptions of the vehicles involved
Be sure your notes are extensive enough to prove useful later.
In an accident involving a complicated intersection or multiple vehicles,
it is not uncommon to recreate the scene by using a diagram that explains the location of each car involved in the accident.
For example, simply noting the license plate numbers would not allow you to recall that
"the blue SUV entered the intersection from the left", or "the silver pickup ran the light at the same time."
Get the names of witnesses before they leave the scene
Get the name and department of the police officer on the scene
In the case of a hit and run, jot down whatever information – even partial – that you have.
This includes any description of the vehicle and driver involved
Most experts recommend discussing the accident with no one except the police or your insurance company.
Do not admit fault or assess blame; it’s very human to feel at fault after an accident,
even if you are not at fault legally!