STRESSED! What to do after a wreck?
Updated: Feb 23
STEP 1: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE NO INJURIES.
If injured, dial 911 or request someone else to make the call. If you have serious injuries, resist the urge to move, and wait for emergency responders.
STEP 2: CONFIRM THE WELL-BEING OF ANY PASSENGERS.
If you are not seriously injured, make sure to confirm any injuries to any other passengers in your car. If any passengers are injured, dial 911 or ask a bystander to call emergency responders.
STEP 3: IF REASONABLE TO DO, GET TO SAFETY.
If reasonably possible to move to the side of the road or a sidewalk without further injury or damages, get to safety. If your vehicle is in a safe condition to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, move the vehicle to the side of the road. However, do so within reason of your safety. Otherwise, leave the vehicle where it is, and move to safety.
STEP 4: DIAL 911.
Even if a wreck is deemed a minor fender-bender or a severe collision, contacting the police is extremely important — and in many states, the law requires it. The responding police officers will complete a police report and document the scene of the wreck. Regardless, if the police are unable to arrive at the scene of the wreck, visiting the nearest police station and completing a report yourself, will provide a record of the wreck. More importantly, when filing a claim with your insurance carrier, they usually request a copy of the police report to aid with the claims process.
STEP 5: STAY FOR EMERGENCY HELP.
Cut off your vehicle’s engine and turn on your hazard lights. If it is dark, use road flares and be extremely careful when entering and leaving your vehicle. It is beneficial to make sure your vehicle is not parked in blind spots or difficult areas where other drivers cannot see you or your vehicle.
STEP 6: EXCHANGE CONTACT INFORMATION.
After confirming that you and any passengers are not injured, swap contact and insurance carrier information with the other driver. Here are the most important items drivers should exchange and document after a wreck:
Full name and contact information Insurance Carrier and Policy Number License plate number and Driver’s License (use your cellphone and take a photo) Make, Model, and Color of Vehicle Location of Wreck
Caution: Avoid talking of fault when conversing over the wreck’s facts with the other driver. After you file your insurance claim, the adjuster evaluating your claim will decide who is at fault based on an inspection of the property/vehicles damaged, statements taken by you and the other parties involved in the wreck, and any supporting documentation or witnesses, like the police report, video footage, or photos from the scene.
STEP 7: DOCUMENT THE WRECK.
To protect yourself, BLF recommends completing the following steps:
Determine the police officers at the scene. (Once the police arrive, document the name and badge number of all responding officers.) Get a copy of the police report. (Asks the investigating officers when you can pick up the police report. Your insurance carrier and the other driver’s carrier will definitely want a copy of the report when filing an insurance claim. Take photos. (Document the wreck carefully by taking photos of your vehicle from different sides/angles. Be sure to expose the damage to both vehicles. If possible, take a photo of the other vehicle’s license plate, too. Photos are extremely important during the claims process when proving your claim.) Write the names and addresses of all parties involved, including all passengers. Take down any witness information. (Write down the names and contact information of any witnesses to the wreck, as well. This will help prove your claim during the claims process.)