What to Do After an Auto Accident

An accident can happen to anyone, and it is important to remain calm and document the details right after an accident has occurred. Knowing what to do, will help you to remain calm, so Carriage Insurance has put together an Accident Checklist so that you can protect yourself and ensure that your claim will go more smoothly.  Review this information and keep it in your glove box so that you have it for an easy reference in the event of an auto accident.

Accident Checklist

  • Call the police or fire department to report your accident.
  • Call 911 if someone is injured.
  • Remain at the scene of the accident.
  • Assess the damage and take steps to prevent further damage
  • If police or fire department suggest, move your vehicle to the side of the road to allow emergency vehicles easier access.
  • Turn off engine if it is still running.
  • Warn oncoming traffic. Set hazard lights and flares.
  • Do not smoke- there could be spilled fuel.
  • Be alert to downed electrical wires if you have hit a telephone pole.
  • At the scene of the accident, do not discuss the specifics of the accident unless it is with officials or emergency personnel.
  • Do not sign any documents.
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with any drivers or witnesses. Be sure to get name, address, phone numbers, license numbers, makes of vehicles and insurance information including insurance company and policy numbers.
  • Take photos of the accident and surrounding area (signs, etc) and all vehicles.
  • Sketch the accident and write a description of the accident.
  • If you hit an unoccupied vehicle, try to find the owner. Leave a note if you do not locate them and write down your name and contact information. Then report it to the local authorities. This will protect you from being charged with a hit-and-run.
  • Do not move an injured person, unless from a burning vehicle.
  • Call your insurance company promptly.
  • Keep a file to keep track of all claims information like your claim number, adjuster’s name and contact information, contact information for the other parties involved, photos, repair estimates and bills, and all receipts.
  • Get the name and precinct of the police officer at the scene.

If law enforcement investigates your accident, you do not have to file a collision report, but if they do NOT, then you MUST file a report within 4 days of the accident.  You can get a blank accident report from your local police department.  The collision report will only be added to your driving record if there was an injury or there were more than $700 in damages.

How to file a claim

It can be faster if you call your insurance carrier directly and turn in your claim, especially if it is after hours. We are providing toll-free numbers for all insurance carriers we represent. You are certainly welcome to contact Carriage Insurance when you have a claim at 425-641-5066 or click below: