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What to Do When You Are in a Car Accident

what to do when you are in a car accident

What to Do When You Are in a Car Accident

Do you know what to do when you are in a car accident? Everyone hopes it will never happen to them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. When you are in an accident, adrenaline is high. If you are armed with the knowledge you need ahead of time, you are more likely to handle the situation in a way that protects you physically and financially. We are sharing our car accident checklist to help you keep a clear head when the unfortunate occurs. 

Before we begin, we would like to clarify that this list is meant to help you in an accident in which at least one party is able to manage these tasks. If you are seriously injured, feeling dizzy, struggling to focus or experiencing any other issues that could cause further harm to your body or cause you to report information inaccurately, delegate these tasks to an uninjured party. It can be another person in the vehicle who is okay or a loved one who can arrive and take over or manage tasks where they are.

What to Expect After a Car Accident

It is difficult to prepare yourself for what to expect for a car accident because every accident is different. Some, like a minor tap to the bumper at a stoplight, may barely do more than raise your blood pressure. Other accidents can be quite traumatic even if the damage or injuries are not severe.

  • You may feel panicked or confused.
  • You may not feel injuries in the moment that will manifest later.
  • You may need to be transported to the hospital if your injuries are severe.
  • You may feel angry or frustrated.
    In many cases, you will need to communicate directly with the other driver.
  • You will have to repeat your side more than once.
  • You will have to speak with police if they are called.
  • You will need to speak with your insurance company if you want to process your claim.

What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident

In the moment, it can be difficult to remember what to do right after a car accident. As we talked about above, you may be feeling shocked or disoriented, even if the incident was minor. These car accident tips will help you manage the accident even if you’re stressed.

  • Check yourself and your passengers for injuries.
  • Observe where you are in traffic and determine if you need to move your vehicle to the side of the road. In certain areas, Colorado law requires you to move minor accidents to the side of the road. However, do not leave the scene!
  • Call 911 to report the accident. Should you always call the police after a car accident? If your city is operating under “cold reporting,” you will need to follow the required steps to document the accident online. The Colorado Springs cold reporting page details what to do.
  • Begin recording all details about the accident and taking photos and video of the aftermath. Honest Accurate’s handy accident form asks all the right questions to help you walk through the process.
  • Exchange insurance with the other party. If they do not have insurance, take a photo of their license plate and wait for the police to arrive.
  • Contact your insurance company. You can usually report through a phone call or through your company’s app.

What to Do After a Hit and Run Car Accident

Now that you know what to do after a minor car accident, do you know what to do if the other driver flees the scene? Most people do not expect the other driver to hit and run, but it does happen. Here’s how to handle a car accident where the other driver leaves the scene.

  • If you are still in your vehicle and observe the other driver leaving, try to take a video of them leaving the scene with your phone.
  • If you are outside of the vehicle, snap a photo of the license plate and make and model of the vehicle before engaging with the other driver in case they leave the scene.
  • Ask any witnesses to the accident to stay and report what they have seen to police.
  • Survey the area for traffic cameras that could have valuable information.
  • Stay calm. If you are insured, there may be options for repairing your car even if you cannot contact the other party.

What Not to Do After a Car Accident

Now that you know the right thing to do, let’s look at what not to do after a car accident. Panic or a lack of knowledge about proper accident procedures can cause people to make mistakes that could get them in financial or legal trouble.

DO NOT leave the scene of the accident.

Depending on the accident, you may be allowed to move operable vehicles to a safer location near the scene. However, you should not drive home or attempt to evade consequences if the accident was your fault. Even if you have a faulty vehicle, an unregistered vehicle or an uninsured vehicle, it is better to remain with your vehicle. Leaving the scene can be considered a criminal offense.

DO NOT admit fault.

Calmly state your part in the accident to law enforcement.

DO NOT lose your temper or get into an altercation with other drivers.

Tempers can flare after an accident and a minor fender-bender can become heated quite quickly. If the other party is being disruptive, keep your distance and wait for the police to arrive.

DO NOT lie.

Do not panic when speaking to police. Lying could get you in deeper trouble later on.

We hope these tips will help you know what to do after a no fault car accident, a car accident that’s your fault or a car accident that’s not your fault. If you’ve been in a minor car accident, Honest Accurate would be happy to give your vehicle an inspection to check for hidden mechanical issues, brake issues or other problems your insurance’s repair company may miss. We can help give you additional peace of mind that your car will be safe to drive once more.

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