Crash! Bang! Whack! What To Do if You’re in a Car Accident.

August 29, 2023

No, this isn’t a movie review about the most recent Fast and Furious, but a step-by-step guide intended to ease the stress that comes with being involved in a car accident. 

It’s a nice sunny Saturday in mid-September, and you’re driving down the road, blasting your favorite song without a care in the world. You pull up to a red light, check your rearview mirror, and notice the car behind you is not slowing down nearly fast enough. CRASH! BANG! WHACK! The car rear-ended you right into a light pole. Great….now what?

1. Pull Over to the Side of the Road if Able and Keep Calm.
  • If you are able to pull over, try to park as far away as possible from the road to prevent other accidents and to protect yourself from passing traffic. If your vehicle still has working hazard lights, turn them on. 
2. Assess Injuries to Yourself and Any Passengers.
  • Call 911 if you or your passengers are injured or if there is a fire threat coming from any of the vehicles involved.
3. If There Are No Injuries or Fire Threats, It’s Still Important to Call the Police.
  • Call the police so an official report will be filed, and make sure you get the name and badge numbers of the police officers who arrive at the scene so you can follow up for the report. 
  • If police aren’t able to make it, either visit the closest police department to submit an incident report or submit it online on their website. Having an incident report will be very useful when you file a claim. 
4. Evaluate the Damage to Your Vehicle and Take Pictures.
  • This could be helpful if a claim ends up being filed by either party. 
5. Collect the Other Driver’s Information.
  • Gather the following: the other driver’s name, their phone number, their automobile insurance provider, and their associated automobile policy number. We recommend storing this info on your smartphone so there is less chance of misplacing it. 
  • Insurance follows the vehicle, so in some cases, the driver may not be listed on the insurance policy if they are borrowing it from a friend or family member. If this is the case, still collect the other driver’s name and number and, most importantly, the insurance info of the policy that covers the vehicle. It is also a good idea to get the name and number of the individual who owns the vehicle in case there is any trouble when trying to contact the driver. 
 6. Finally, Decide Whether to File a Claim.

You Are At-Fault. 

  • Contact your insurance company to file a claim. Be ready with your policy number as well as the other person’s contact info. 
  • You still do not have to file a claim, but remember, if you decide to pay for the other person’s damages out of pocket, it could be costlier than you expect. 
  • Be aware, multiple small claims can eventually lead to increased premiums. 

You Are Not At-Fault. 

  • The other driver’s insurance company will pay for damages to your auto. If you sustained injuries, the company should also pay for your medical bills. If the other driver will not call and file the claim, then you are responsible for contacting their auto insurer and reporting the incident. 
  • Sometimes, you will still have to file a claim under your insurance even if you weren’t at-fault, and if that is the case, your auto insurance provider will attempt to collect owed monies from the other driver’s insurance company. You will be responsible for your deductible in this case but can be reimbursed if your auto insurance provider is able to collect from the other company.  


What if I Hit an Unoccupied Vehicle? 
  • Leave a note with your name, number, and insurance information. 
What if Someone Hits My Parked Car While I Am Not in It? 
  • Try to locate the person who hit you and collect their information. 
  • Take photos of your vehicle’s damage and then call the police to file a report. 
  • Call your insurance company to determine if you should file a claim. 
Useful Tips 
  • Keep important documents in your car, such as insurance ID cards and your vehicle’s registration. 
  • Smartphones can be useful when involved in an accident to take pictures of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, their license plate, as well as pictures of their insurance info. 
  • If your vehicle has to be towed, take your belongings out of the car and bring them with you. 


File a Claim  

Print Vehicle ID Cards