After an Accident
First, stay calm. Breathe in slowly. Breathe out. Are you hurt? If so, remain where you are and phone for help or ask someone to phone for you.
If you are not hurt and your car is drivable, move it out of the way of traffic. (This means onto the shoulder of the road, not home to your garage. Leaving the scene of an accident is a big no-no.) If you cannot move it, turn on your hazard lights.
Get out of your car if/when it is safe to do so. If someone is injured, do not move them. Wait for EMS.
If someone is injured, call 911. Otherwise just call your local police so that they can fill out an accident report for you. (Pause your reading for a moment look up your local police department’s phone number and program it into your phone.) Tell the police there was a car accident and give the location. Do not say, “I hit someone” or anything that admits fault.
When you approach the other driver you can ask if they’re okay but do not apologize for the accident or admit fault. I know, nice people want to apologize for their mistakes and an accident is definitely a mistake! But, that only works if the other person is also a nice person. You’re already having some bad luck and you don’t want to make that worse by admitting fault to someone who will use it against you later. Don’t start yelling at the other driver and accusing him of causing the accident, even if it’s true.
Exchange information with the other driver: their name (and the car owner’s name if the driver is not the owner, also ask their relationship to the owner), contact information, make and model of vehicle, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number. If the other driver asks for your social security number, do not provide it. They do not need that to file an insurance claim. Don’t discuss what your insurance policy covers either. Just give them the number of your insurance company and let them handle it.
If there are witnesses (this doesn’t include people in either car), get their names and contact information. Look around to see if there are traffic cameras or if a nearby business has video surveillance cameras that may have recorded the accident.
Take photos of the vehicles and the accident scene. Note the time of day and the weather conditions.
Make a note of the officer’s name and badge number. Ask for a copy of the police report.
Report the accident to your insurance company.
Don’t post the details about the accident to Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or anywhere else on the internet.
Things to Keep in Your Car in Case of an Accident
You should always have your car’s registration and a copy of your insurance card in your glove compartment. If you or another frequent driver/passenger of the vehicle has any special medical conditions, it would be a good idea to keep a printout with the medical information with your other documents.
Other things that may be useful in an accident are flares or warning triangles, a first aid kit, a flashlight and work gloves. If you live somewhere that has cold weather, you may want to add hand warmers, emergency blankets (also called space blankets), a hat, and insulated gloves.
Make sure your cell phone has your local police department’s phone number and an emergency contact for you. Store the emergency contact in your phone under ICE (In Case of Emergency).