U.S. & Canada

8 Immediate Steps to Take After the Occurrence of a Car Accident

Road accidents are stressful events that typically raise dozens of questions at once such as:

  • Should I inform the authorities?
  • Or should I first be concerned about myself and my car?
  • What’s the right time for making a claim?
  • How should I go about making a claim?

and many more.

The questions are virtually endless. As a result, most people who have been in a wreck end up being confused and with no idea where to start.


Hence, it is advisable to know these steps in advance before the occurrence of the accident to make the entire process simpler and more efficient. So let’s begin.


First and the foremost to do is to stay at the scene of the accident

DO NOT leave the accident scene for any reason whatsoever. It can send the wrong message to the authorities. If you need to relocate your vehicle close to the scene to put yourself in a position of safety and ensure other drivers on the road do not collide with you again, do so.
Stay put, stay safe

Also remember that if you leave the accident scene where someone has sustained serious medical injuries or was killed as a result of the same, you may be considered hit-and-run driver and may even face serious criminal charges as a result of the same.


Assess yourself for injuries

Are you alright? Confirm that first. Be mindful that most people find it hard or impossible to assess the full extent of their injuries due to the adrenaline involved in a crash. When in doubt, get checked by a medical practitioner.

If you think you are seriously injured as a result of the accident, try not to move (unless the situation compels you to do so). You may aggravate the injury as a result of your movements. Stay sitting or lying down in a safe place and wait for help.


Check the condition of the passengers next

If you think you are not too hurt to move, you may start checking on the other passengers in your car. Try to find out whether any major injury has occurred or not.

If you think that a significant injury has occurred as a result of the accident, try not to move the victim much (unless the situation compels you to do so). Like I said before, movement can aggravate the injury ,so be careful.


Call 911
Call 911

You MUST inform the authorities if significant property damage, death, or physical injuries have occurred as a result of the accident.

You will want to call 911. Even in situations where you are unsure of whether there has been serious injury, you should keep in mind that the situation may warrant a 911 call.


Wait for help

Turn your engine off, switch on the hazard lights of your vehicle (if any) and use road flares to warn other vehicles of the emergency. will help in maintaining the situation under control.


Collect information to the best of your abilities

It is recommended that you allow police to collect information from the other driver for you so as to avoid putting yourself in harm’s way if the other driver is a dangerous individual. However, after ensuring the fact that you and your passengers are uninjured and safe from any further harm, you may get into the act of exchanging information with the other drivers involved in the accident if you believe it is safe to do so.

These should include things like:

  • Detailed contact information of the drivers including full name, phone numbers, and residential address.
  • The name of the insurance company and the policy number.
  • The type, color and the model of the vehicle.
  • Driver’s license as well as the license plate number.
  • Model, color, and the type of the vehicle.
  • The location of the accident.

It is also recommended that you avoid discussing fault when discussing “contact-based information” with other drivers.


Document the accident as carefully as possible
The following steps are recommended as far as the documentation of the accident is concerned:

  • Identify officers: As soon as the police arrive on the scene, take down the names and the badge numbers of all responding officers.
  • Ask for the accident report copy: Ask for the exact location from where you can collect a copy of the accident report.
  • Document the accident by taking photographs: Take photographs of the vehicles involved in the accident from different angles, not just your own vehicle
  • Talk to the witnesses: If any witnesses are present nearby, note down their names and their contact information. This can help you later in court for any claim related purposes.


You do not need to notify your insurance company of the accident

A competent car accident lawyer will help you in communicating with the insurance companies involved so as to not hurt your claim.

Hope you had a good and useful read.

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Pastrana Abogados are personal injury lawyers that have practiced personal injury litigation for many years. They have handled a wide variety of cases. Learn more at www.pastranalaw.com


  1. Thanks Pastrana for your valuable info.Your ideas and sharing both are simply outstanding.Your tips are really helpful to understand the steps which I should follow when there is an emergency,
    When an emergency occurs people usually get nervous and an effective idea needs serious brainstorming to determine the best outcome. Even I was simply stumped on choosing decisions which could work for me.Most of the time it happens people got stuck in the car they need a car locksmith to get out themselves from that lockout situations.I found your article more interesting and useful as a tool which could help me.

  2. I had no idea that I do not need to notify your insurance company of the accident! I got hit by a car yesterday, and I am so lucky that I’ve found this article before talking to my insurance agent! I totally agree that a competent car accident lawyer will help me in communicating with the insurance companies involved so as to not hurt my claim. I will make sure to find a reliable specialist in order to stay financially stable in this situation.

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