Stop and Report—What to do After a Car Accident

No one really prepares you for getting into a car accident. Despite this, there are important steps that you can take once the event occurs. Below are the four things you absolutely must do if you are involved in a car accident.

Get Clear of Danger

Your first step should always be to ensure that you and your passengers are safe. Check to make sure that it’s safe to move, then get clear of the danger. If possible, turn off your vehicle and then move a reasonable distance away. This is more important for significant accidents than fender-benders, but it’s always a good idea to keep yourself a safe distance from any kind of accident.

Call the Police

Once you’re clear, it’s time to report the accident. Make sure to immediately call the police, even if the other party asks you not to do so. While getting the police involved can seem like a major step, the truth is that your failure to do so can cost you significantly in the future. It’s always a good idea to get a record of exactly what’s happened from a neutral third party, so make sure that you make this call as soon as possible.

Get Contact Information

After you’ve called the police, it’s time to talk to the other driver. You can absolutely check on him or her, but it’s also a good idea to go ahead and swap insurance and contact information. You’ll want to report the accident to the insurance company rather quickly, especially if you don’t know the other person. Establishing a record will help you if things aren’t able to be handled in a straightforward manner.

Call a Lawyer

Finally, you’ll want to contact an attorney. This won’t necessarily be done to bring a suit against the other party, but it’s often a necessity to have a lawyer available when you’re dealing with the insurance company. Remember, the other side has a vested interest in making sure it pays you as little as possible, and you might need a bit of legal help on your side. A good accident lawyer will also help you if the incident does progress to a suit, representing you in court and in any negotiations.

Always make sure to follow the steps above if you are in a car accident. Guarantee your own safety, then make sure you report the accident to the police and to the insurance company. Once you’re done, call a lawyer—while the accident may be over, you may continue to deal with it for quite some time.


Addy Reeds is a freelance writer from Eugene, Oregon. She discovered her passion for journalism while attending the University of Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @addyreeds1;