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What To Do After A Car Accident: A Step-By-Step Guide

December 10, 2019

When you get into a car accident, there are certain steps you may want to take in order to help make sure everyone is safe, to follow the law and to get the insurance claim process started.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the following steps may help guide you through important decisions you need to make if you've been in a car accident, whether you were at fault for the accident or not.

“I just had an accident. Now what do I do...?”

STEP 1: CHECK YOURSELF FOR INJURIES.

If you're injured, call 911 or ask someone else to do so. If you're seriously injured, try not to move, and wait for emergency personnel.

STEP 2: CHECK ON THE WELL-BEING OF YOUR PASSENGERS.

If you're not too hurt to move, check on the other passengers in your car. If anyone's injured, get on the phone with emergency services or ask a bystander to call for help.

STEP 3: GET TO SAFETY.

If you're able to, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety.

STEP 4: CALL 911.

Whether an accident is considered a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important — and in some states, it's legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. If the police can't come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself, according to the III. When you file a claim with your insurer, they may ask for a copy of the police report to help with the claims process.

STEP 5: WAIT FOR HELP.

Turn off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and use the road flares in your emergency car kit to warn other vehicles to slow down.

STEP 6: EXCHANGE INFORMATION.

After making sure you and any passengers are uninjured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. According to the III, here's the most important information drivers should exchange after an accident:

  • Full name and contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver's license and license plate number
  • Type, color and model of vehicle
  • Location of accident

The III recommends that you avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the other driver. When you file an insurance claim, the adjuster reviewing your claim will determine who's at fault based on an inspection of the vehicles/property damaged, information provided by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or photographs from the scene.

STEP 7: DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT.

In order to help protect yourself, the III recommends taking the following steps:

  • Identify the officers.
    Once the police arrive, get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
  • Get a copy.
    Ask the police officers present where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Your insurer may ask for a copy of the report when you file a car insurance claim.
  • Take pictures.
    Document the accident thoroughly by taking pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars. It might also be a good idea to take pictures of the other car's license plate. You may be able to share photos with your insurer during the claims process to help support your claim.
  • Take down names.
    Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved, including any passengers in the other vehicle.
  • Talk to witnesses.
    If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well.


To help keep all of this documentation in order, you can keep this accident information page in your vehicle.

STEP 8: Call ADV MED HELP 1-844-4-ADV-MED.

Don't get left not knowing what to do when an accident happens. Call ADV MED for help @ 1-844-4-ADV-MED

Though you may not experience discomfort or pain at the moment of the accident you may still be injured and should seek medical and legal advice. Allow ADV MED HELP help you. We have a complete staff dedicated to accident injury assessment and diagnosing. We provide physical therapy for recuperating accident victims. At times accidents can be quite severe leaving the patient with chronic pain. Our Board certified anesthesiologist can help manage the pain through ground breaking techniques and procedures in pain management. We work with aggressive attorneys that will work diligently for your case to ensure an outcome that will be most favorable. We have over 3 decades of experience in the industry and know the correct steps you should be taking to ensure you receive the quality care and recompense you need after an accident.