A man standing beside a vehicle after a car accident.

Even if you’re the best driver and follow all the proper safety protocols, accidents happen! When you’re involved in a car accident, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. Knowing how to handle the aftermath of a car accident is so important to ensure you are navigating the practical and legal aspects correctly.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Here are the top 7 steps we recommend following if you find yourself involved in a car accident:

Stay safe.

Immediately following a car accident, it is important that your health and safety be made a priority before anything else. Remember that scenes of a collision can be dangerous, so assess the situation before exiting your vehicle.

Vehicles should remain where they are unless they interfere with traffic. If you’re able to do so, carefully move your vehicle to the side of the road (after taking photos- see below) and use hazard lights or cones to alert other drivers

If you are parked on a busy road, do not get out of your vehicle and wander around. Do not compromise your safety and put yourself in danger of being struck by a vehicle on the road!

Contact first responders.

First things first, seek medical help if needed. If you or any other people are injured and require urgent medical care or assistance, call 911 for an ambulance immediately.

Police will either attend the scene or ask you to report the matter at a local station. It is important that the accident is reported, either way.

Many common injuries caused by car accidents may not necessarily require you to call an ambulance to the scene, but it’s still important to get these injuries assessed and reported. Some of these common injuries include whiplash, concussions, back injuries, and soft tissue injuries, among many others. Book a check-up appointment with your physician following a car accident to ensure that your health is not compromised, and you don’t require any follow-up treatment. This can also help protect your insurance claim.

Gather witnesses.

Exchange driver, vehicle, and insurance information with all the drivers who were involved in the accident. Get the names and contact information of as many witnesses as possible, including passengers in vehicles. Even in a seemingly straightforward situation, stories can change, so gathering the information of as many bystanders as possible can be extremely beneficial in the long run.

Take photos right away.

Take photos of any visible damage to the vehicles involved! It is best if these can be taken before any vehicles are moved. Don’t forget to also capture images of the accident scene in general. Things like skid marks or debris on the roadway may be helpful to have a record of. Remember, safety should always be the priority, so complete this step with caution!

Contact insurance.

Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. You will be required to report all details of the accident, including damages to your vehicle and any other property, as well as your injuries.

Decline communication with the other driver’s insurer.

Do not speak to or provide a statement to the other vehicle’s insurer. You have no obligation to do so as part of your accident claim. The other insurance company has an adverse interest in you and is only acting in the interests of their insured and for their own benefit.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer.

Navigating the process of car accidents with multiple insurance agencies involved can be extremely confusing and difficult. Personal injury lawyers are available to help guide you through and fight for a fair settlement.

From a serious spinal cord injury to a minor neck injury, Robinson LLP has the experience and expertise to help you after a traffic accident so you can achieve your best recovery. Consult with us as soon as possible so we can provide crucial information at an early stage. We offer free consultations, and the possibility of compensation is always worth it! Reach out to us today.

Visit our car accident page to learn more about the legal side of car accidents (e.g. when to call a lawyer after a car accident, how much a car accident claim can cost, how to deal with insurance companies and more). We’re here to give you all the facts before you proceed.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2019 and was updated in February 2023.

  • avatar
    My Robinson LLP lawyer was highly recommended to me as a high end lawyer who gets the job done. I retained Robinson LLP to handle a complicated car accident lawsuit for me where I clearly was not at fault according to the law, but it was not so cut and dry with the insurance companies. My lawyer rea… Read more
    Marion R.

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