You are here

6 Tips for Handling the Aftermath of a Traffic Accident

A sudden auto accident often leaves a person feeling slightly scattered and confused. That’s why it’s so important to learn what to do after an accident, when things are calm and everyone is level-headed. This simple guide can make the time after a crash less stressful the claims process much smoother.

Move to Safety if Possible

If it is safe and no one is seriously injured, move involved vehicles out of traffic lanes and onto the road shoulder. However, when the damage is so severe that the vehicle cannot be moved, turn on its emergency flashers to warn other drivers of the danger.

Check on Other Drivers

Check on everyone else involved, including pedestrians, passengers, and other drivers. Call 911 if anyone is injured; even seemingly minor symptoms should be evaluated by health care professionals.

Call the Police

Even in a minor accident, a police report is a useful tool when dealing with at-fault drivers and their insurance companies. Cooperate with the police, but do not blame others or admit fault. Let the authorities determine who is responsible for the accident. If the authorities cannot or do not respond, file a report through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Gather Information

Victims should attempt to write down as much information as possible, including:

  • The names and contact information of other drivers and their passengers
  • Other cars’ license plate numbers
  • Other drivers’ insurance information
  • Contact information for witnesses
  • The accident’s location
  • The names and badge numbers of responding officers

Document the Accident Scene

Most drivers have smartphones with cameras, which can be used to take photos of the accident scene and resulting property damage. This information is very useful when filing an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

File an Insurance Claim and Consult an Attorney

The final steps are to file an insurance claim and consult a local personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are in the business to make a profit, and they do so by minimizing payouts wherever possible. However, an accident lawyer will negotiate with the insurer to win a fair settlement for the client. Visit for more driving and auto safety tips.