What to do after a car accident

Gray Car with a mangled rear bumper having been hit by the red truck also in the picture

Four steps to follow after your vehicle is in a collision

Being involved in a car accident can be terrifying. Even a small fender bender can open the door to insurance claims and court dates. To make sure that you take care of everything after a car accident, following these steps can make it easier to know what you need to do. If you’re involved in a collision, the steps you take at the moment can benefit you later on.

Move your vehicle and check for injuries

Accidents can happen quickly, and depending on where you are, your vehicle being stopped could be dangerous for other drivers. If your vehicle is blocking the road, try and move it over to the shoulder or out of the way. If your vehicle won’t move, or you fear a fire is imminent or has started, get out of your vehicle and make your way to safety. Check on other passengers in your vehicle and the other car to ensure that no one is severely injured.

Call 9-1-1

If you or someone else is injured, call 9-1-1 and ask them to send an ambulance. If no one is injured, it is still wise to contact the local police, either by calling 9-1-1 or by using the non-emergency number for a smaller accident, which you should be able to find online. Even if you think that the accident doesn’t merit police involvement, having the police report will often make insurance claims easier to process. In some cases, not calling the police after an accident is against the law.

[Related: Best apps for staying safe on the road]

What to do while you wait for the police

Especially in a non-emergency situation, it could take some time before the police arrive on the scene. During this time, you and the other party can exchange insurance and contact information. If you have a phone with a camera, this time can also be used to document the damage to your vehicle and the other car that was involved. In addition to any damage, you can also take pictures of the license plate, so that there is documentation of the vehicles involved.

How to proceed after the accident

Two people examining their vehicles after a collision

Once the police are on the scene, they’ll give you directions on your next steps, which might include calling a tow truck for your vehicle. If necessary, contact someone to come pick you up. If damage seems minor, it might be beneficial to bring your Ford vehicle in for service at Sanders Ford, which you are able to schedule online. After you’ve moved to a more neutral area, contact your insurance company to get a claim started.

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