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I Had a Car Accident - Now What?

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

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Car accident
Steve Cole/ Stone/ Getty Images
There are many ways to avoid a car accident but once one happens it is important that the right steps are taken. Obviously it is hard to think clearly after a car accident so it is important to know before you get into an accident what to do first and what questions may need answered. This checklist will help you know what to do after a car accident. It is best to review it now and then print it out and keep a copy with you in your car.
  • Determine the Extent of Damage or Injuries

    Try to stay calm. Panic can make others panic and the situation worse. There needs to be a calm person to determine the extent of damage and to determine if there are any injuries that need immediate medical attention.

  • File a Car Accident Report with the Police

    Even in a minor accident it is important to make sure there is a legal accident report. Do not leave the scene until the police file a full report.

  • Discuss the Car Accident Only with the Police

    With everyone all shook up it can be hard not to talk about what just happened, but that can also lead to you not thinking clearly and accurately about what happened. It is important to limit your discussion of the accident and not to admit any fault or liability. You should talk about the accident with the police and your insurance agent only.

  • Get the Facts

    This is the part most people know to do, but often forget to after the accident for one reason or another. It is important to get names, address, and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident. A description of the car and license plate number can also be helpful, but make sure you also get their insurance company and the vehicle identification number of their car. Don't just assume the license plate number will do because most insurance companies only record the type of car and the vehicle identification number, not the license plate number.

  • Call Your Insurance Agent

    Call your agent or insurance company's 800-number immediately, even at the scene with the police if possible. Sometimes the police officer can give your insurance company more accurate information rather than information you may not be recording properly because you are upset by the accident. This can save you a lot of time later waiting for your claim to be processed.

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