Motor Vehicle Accident Checklist

Accidents happen. Unfortunately, this stressful situation happens to many of us at least once during our lifetime. It’s important you know how to properly react if you are ever involved in an accident. Follow the action steps below immediately after an accident to protect yourself, others involved, and your property from further damage.

  • Assess the medical condition of all parties involved, both in your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident. If anyone needs medical assistance, call 911 immediately.
  • Contact law enforcement and notify them of the accident. It is often best to leave the vehicles in the position they were in immediately after the accident until law enforcement arrives, so the reporting officers are better able to assess and diagram the facts of the loss.
  • Exchange information with all involved parties and witnesses to the accident. In some cases, local law enforcement will assist with this task. Law enforcement will likely complete a report at a later date, but this information is needed by your insurance company as soon as possible and is very important in cases of uninsured drivers. The information you should obtain includes: Name, current address, and phone number(s) for the driver of the other vehicle(s). If the driver of the other vehicle is not the owner of that vehicle, you should also obtain the same information for the vehicle owner.
    • Insurance company name, policy number and agency name for the owner and driver of the other vehicle. It may be helpful for you to simply ask to view the other person’s insurance ID card.
    • License plate number, make, model, and color of the other vehicle(s).
    • Name, current address, and phone number(s) for any passengers in the other vehicle(s). Name, current address, and phone number(s) for witnesses to the accident.
  • Take pictures of the damage. Take as many pictures as possible and sketch a diagram of the accident.
  • Disclose all relevant information to the investigating officer. Typically, it is not recommended to discuss the details of the accident with the other involved party.
  • Notify your insurance agent or insurance company. Promptly notifying your agent and/or insurance company with claim details, including the responding law enforcement, allows the claim process to begin immediately.
Motor Vehicle Accident Checklist

Theft

Do not panic! Finding a radio ripped out of the dash of your car can be distressing, but remember that ultimately, it is just a vehicle and it’s more important that you are safe. Stay calm and call the applicable authorities as soon as possible.

Fire

Do not approach a vehicle on fire! If it is very small and contained you may be able to quickly put it out yourself, but if a fire is anywhere near the engine or gas tank, or has engulfed more than ¼ of the vehicle, stay away from the vehicle and wait for the fire department to arrive. That may be difficult to do, but again, it’s only a vehicle and your safety is the most important factor.

Hit & Run

If you experience a hit and run, do not make assumptions about who might have caused the damage. Unless there is factual evidence to link a person to a scene, the police are unable to charge anyone. Your best course of action is trying to find any witnesses to the loss and any evidence that will link the suspected person to the scene at the time of the loss.

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