What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident: A 10 Step Guide

Posted on

During 2018 in the United States, over 36,750 people were killed due to traffic crashes. And there are even more car wrecks that involve injuries or just damage to property.

Are you wondering what to do when someone hits your car or you hit another car?

Read on to learn what do if you find yourself at a car accident scene.

Stay Put at the Car Accident Scene

One of the cardinal rules of a car accident scene is to never drive away. You might panic at the thought of a car wreck and be worried about the consequences, especially if you are responsible for a rear-end accident.

But you must never drive away from a car accident scene, even a minor one.

If it safe to do so and your car is drivable, you can pull over into the nearest parking lot, shoulder on the road or side street to avoid congesting traffic.

If your car isn’t drivable, put your four-way indicator on and turn off the car. If it is dark, use road flares from your emergency car kit to warn other vehicles to slow down.

Check for Injuries

Once your car is parked, you need to check for injuries to yourself and your passengers.

If you are hurt or one of your passengers is hurt, call 911. If you are seriously injured, don’t try to move, you could make your injuries worse.

Just wait for paramedics to arrive to help you.

Call the Police

In some states, calling the police for all car crashes, including fender benders, is legally required.

So once you have checked yourself and passengers for injuries, that is the next thing you should do.

Avoid tying up the 911 lines (unless there are injuries) and instead, call your local police department directly.

Officers will come to the scene and fill out an accident report. Sometimes, police officers are unable to come to the scene right away. The officer on the phone will advise you to report to your local PD to report the car crash.

Make sure to get a copy of the police report. You will need it for filing a claim with your car insurance company.

Exchange Information with the Other Driver

Whether you are involved in a minor car crash or a total car wreck, you will need to exchange information with the other drivers involved.

There’s no need to be rude or accusatory. In fact, it’s in your best interest to avoid discussing whose fault it is with the other driver. When vehicles or property are damaged during a car accident, your insurance adjuster will assign fault based on the facts, photographs and the police report.

Just exchange information that you will need to provide to your insurance company.

Write down the full name and contact information of the other driver. Take note of their driver’s license number and plate number.

Get his or her insurance company name and policy number. It’s also a good idea to make note of the make and model of the car and the color.

Also write down the location of the car crash (closest intersection or freeway exit, if possible).

Document the Accident

To give yourself the best possible outcome, you should document as much information as you can.

For example, get the names and badge numbers of police officers that arrive at the scene.

Arrange to get a copy of the police report. A police report is created whether you report an accident at a police department or an officer arrives on the scene.

If possible, take pictures of the damage to your car, the other car or any property. Be thorough and take photos from as many angles as you can.

Take pictures of the location to document weather, time of day and prove the location of the car crash. If you or your passengers have visible injuries, you should take pictures of those.

You should also write down the names of all the people involved. This includes any passenger in your car or in the car of the other driver.

If there are any witnesses, write down their names and contact information as well. You don’t need to take a statement from them or try to get them to tell you who they think is at fault.

Your insurance company will do their own research.

Remember, you must stay out of the way of a police investigation. Always follow the instructions of on-scene police officers.

If you can’t take pictures right away, take some as soon as you can.

How to Report an Accident

Each state has different requirements about when and if you need to report a minor car crash.

Many states require you to report any accident that involves an injury. Some states require drivers to report accidents that result in damage over a certain amount, typically $1,000 or $2,500.

Some states give you 30 days to file a report, others give you five days. Find out the legal requirements in your state.

To report a crashed car, simply report to your local police department. You may be asked to fill in a form or you may verbally answer questions as an officer fills out the form.

Make sure to ask for a copy for your records.

Notify Your Insurance Company

You can call your insurance company at the scene of the collision. Or if you are feeling shocked and disoriented by the experience, you can call your insurance company later that day or the next day.

The good thing about calling your insurance company on the scene is that they can tell you exactly what information they need to process your claim.

Final Word

There you have it. A step-by-step guide for what to do when you find yourself at a car accident scene.

Remember, even though you may feel frazzled or shook up due to the crash, you need to keep a clear head to get the information you need.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may need a Kansas City car accident lawyer. Find out why here.

Our Reputation

The Krause & Kinsman Law Firm is made up of some of the nation’s foremost legal minds in the mass-tort field. That’s why our clients & co-counsel partners choose us.

Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, and Co-Chair of the Law & Briefing Committee in MDL 2846:

In Re: Davol, Inc./C.R. Bard, Inc., Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation

Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in MDL 2974:

In Re: Paragard IUD Products Liability Litigation

Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in MDL 2924:

In Re: Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation

Along with the aforementioned MDLs,

Plaintiff’s Counsel has prosecuted thousands of cases across other Multi-District Litigations and Mass-Torts, including:

MDL No. 3043:

Acetaminophen ASD/ADHD Product Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2753:

Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2782:

Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation

MCL No. 627:

In Re: Physiomesh Litigation, MCL

MCL No. 633:

In Re: Prolene Hernia System Mesh Litigation

MDL No. 2750:

Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2641:

Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2326:

In Re: Boston Scientific Corp. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2606:

Benicar (Olmesartan) Product Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2666:

In Re: Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2591:

Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation

MDL No. 2936:

In Re: Smity’s/CAM2303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation

MCL No. 630:

In Re: Proceed Mesh Litigation

MDL No. 2543:

In Re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation

MDL No. 2004:

In Re: Mentor Corp. ObTape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2187:

In Re: C. R. Bard, Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2325:

In Re: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2327:

In Re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 2387:

In Re: Coloplast Corp. Pelvic Support Systems Products Liability Litigation

MDL No. 251:

In Re: Neomedic Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation

Highly Awarded Trial Attorneys

The Krause & Kinsman Law Firm is one of the nation’s leading mass-tort & personal-injury law firms. The founding partners, Adam & Robert, have been selected to serve on steering committees for some of the largest pharmaceutical mass-tort cases.

Working With Us

Partnering with Krause & Kinsman is easy. When you partner with Krause & Kinsman, you can be sure that our mutual clients’ complex matters are handled with the utmost care and dedication. In addition to our top-notch representation, we will ensure our mutual clients receive frequent communication about the status of their cases.

Partner With Us

Why Us?

Recognized leaders in mass-torts with vast experience in complex litigation.

Your clients will appreciate the high-quality representation provided.

Your clients will consistently real-time updates on the status of their case via video, email, text, and phone.

Get real-time updates on the status of our mutual clients while their cases progress.

Collaborate on the case together and receive co-counsel fees.