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What to Do if You Get into a Car Accident

Michele Lucato 17th Apr 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident, even if it’s just a minor fender bender, is overwhelming. This is even more so the case if you’re injured, someone else is injured, or your car is badly damaged.

Some of the events that follow will be out of your control, but over six million accidents happen per year, and it’s common for drivers to find themselves in a less favorable situation than they otherwise would have been in simply because they’re unfamiliar with the process of dealing with an accident. In today’s article, we’ll walk you through some important things to do if you find yourself in a car accident, from steps to take at the scene to the process of hiring an attorney.

  1. Remain Calm and Assess the Situation
  2. Stay at the Scene
  3. Call the Police
  4. Exchange Information with the Other Driver(s)
  5. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
  6. Tell Your Insurance Company
  7. Consider Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
  8. Visit the Doctor

1. Remain Calm and Assess the Situation

The most important thing you can do immediately after a car accident is to remain calm. It’s easy to panic, but try to take deep breaths and assess the situation. Check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is seriously hurt, call 911 for emergency assistance before anything else.

2. Stay at the Scene

If you leave the scene of the accident, you could face legal consequences. This is especially the case if you were the one at fault for the accident (in which case, it’d be considered a hit-and-run).

If it’s necessary and possible, pull your vehicle out of the way of traffic to avoid causing further accidents and endangering other motorists. Turn your hazards on to signify to other drivers that your car is not moving. Other than that, leave the scene exactly how it was so law enforcement can investigate it appropriately.

3. Call the Police

Unless it’s a small fender bender where only minor damage occurred, calling the police is your best course of action (even if you think you can handle things yourself). They’ll create a report of the incident, which will help you when you file an insurance claim.

4. Exchange Information with the Other Driver(s)

If you fail to get information from the other drivers involved, dealing with insurance and legal matters will be a lot more difficult. Exchange the following information with each of the other drivers involved:

  • Names
  • Contact info
  • License plate numbers
  • Driver’s license info
  • Insurance information

The easiest way to capture this information is to take a picture of each document.

5. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene

When you file your claim, having visual evidence of the accident will help you get the compensation you deserve if the insurance company tries to dispute your claim. Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved and the sustained injuries. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the surrounding area, including traffic signals, road signs, and nearby businesses.

6. Tell Your Insurance Company

Sometimes, it doesn’t make financial sense to file a claim with your insurance because your rate will go up. However, you should definitely file if one of the following sounds like you:

  • The other driver was uninsured
  • You suffered injuries during the accident
  • There is extensive damage to your vehicle
  • The accident was very obviously not your fault (a drunk driver hit your car)
  • A commercial or government-owned vehicle was involved

7. Consider Hiring a Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in the accident or there are disputes with insurance companies, hiring a car accident attorney is probably beneficial. They do the legal legwork for you and ensure you receive fair compensation for the damages. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company might offer you an insufficient settlement. An attorney will be able to negotiate a better one on your behalf.

8. Visit the Doctor

Even if you think you don’t have injuries, you should seek medical attention after a car accident. Sometimes, injuries aren’t immediately apparent but can develop into something more serious if they’re left untreated.


Getting into a car accident can be stressful and overwhelming, but it’s important to remember to remain calm. Taking photos of the accident, exchanging information, and hiring an attorney can put you in a better situation financially as you navigate the situation. By following these tips, you can move past this situation with more confidence and understanding.

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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