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The unexpected happens and you are involved in an auto accident.
Most drivers make costly long term decision errors immediately following an accident as fear gives way to anger and frustration. Questions race through your head faster than the mind can register them. Is everyone OK? Who was at fault? Will my car ever be right again? What are my rights and responsibilities? A calm and informed reaction to an accident will reduce your chances for additional grief and expense.


  • Stay safe. Assess the situation for your immediate safety.
    • Stay in your car if there is a risk of injury or if moving might put you at risk of further injury.
    • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • Move to a safe location if your car is creating a safety hazard or obstructing traffic.
    • Do not leave the scene of the accident!
  • Call 911 to notify the police.
    • Tell them who you are, where you are and any obvious or claimed injuries.
  • If you or other parties are injured, minimize movement so injuries are not made worse.
  • Identify yourself to the other driver.
    • exchange name
    • insurance company and policy number.
    • insurance agent and agent phone number.
    • vehicle information
    • make, model, year, color, license plate and vin number.
    • make sure the vehicle on the insurance information matches the vehicle involved in the accident.
  • Protect Your Identity!
    • DO NOT allow your license or registration to be photographed.
  • Get names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
  • Get names and badge numbers of any police officers who arrive at the scene. The police should file a report. Ask to get a copy.
  • Avoid any extensive discussions at the scene about who is responsible for damage.
    • If the other person admits responsibility, offers a money settlement and you accept, any future claim against the driver may be compromised. You or the other party may later find damage and bodily injury not apparent at first.
  • Take photos if a camera or cell phone camera is available.
    • STAY SAFE. DO NOT take photos at the scene if doing so will put you or others at risk of injury or further damage.
    • Photos to take:
      • License plate(s) of vehicles involved.
      • Damage to other vehicle involved.
      • Damage to your vehicle.
      • Landmarks, street signs or address markers to identify the location.
      • Damage to any property or objects at the scene (debris, skids, fallen trees etc.)
  • Write a complete description of the accident as soon as possible.
    • Time and date
    • Location
    • Conditions weather, traffic and/or road.
    • Describe the accident - estimated speeds, direction of travel, damage caused, injuries, and witnesses.
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible.