Steps to take after an auto accident

If you get in a car accident, you may be in shock, disoriented or confused. You may be unsure if you should call an ambulance or seek medical help.

Reviewing these steps will help you prepare to act quickly after an auto accident.

Check for injuries

First, make sure you have no immediate injuries and that other drivers and passengers involved are also safe. If anyone needs medical help, call 911. Even if you do not need emergency care, you should see a doctor following the accident. Some injuries, including soft tissue and traumatic brain injuries, can take hours or even days to arise.

Report the accident

You should call law enforcement even if no one needs medical assistance. If you have property damage or injuries that show up later, you will need an official police report to file a claim with your insurance company. While you are waiting for help, move your car to a safe place if it is drivable.

Gather information

Get the contact information of all drivers involved in the accident. If others saw the incident, ask if they are willing to serve as witnesses, and get their contact details as well. Take photos or videos of the crash site, capturing damage to your vehicle and other cars involved in the collision.

Report the accident to your auto insurance provider as soon as possible. Depending on who caused the accident, you can decide to file a claim either with your own insurance policy or the responsible party’s policy. If you need to file a lawsuit to recover damages, you have two years from the accident date to do so.