Even the most minor accidents can be extremely emotional and stressful. Things happen fast and there’s often some confusion. It’s easy to overlook some basic steps and precautions that can prevent further stress down the road.
Follow this simple checklist:
- Stay calm, take a few deep breaths.
- Avoid conflict and blame; ask everyone involved if they are OK.
- Injuries are more important than vehicle damage. Check yourself first, then all others. Call 911 for emergency assistance if needed.
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- If no one is hurt, damage is minor and it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle out of traffic.
- Obtain and exchange contact information with all drivers and any witnesses.
- Always contact the police immediately to report any accident resulting in personal injury or vehicle damage, regardless how minor.
- Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved and the surrounding area, specifically from the direction each vehicle was travelling.
- Do not make statements or accusations about fault or responsibility to anyone at the scene, including the police (even if you think the accident was your fault).
- Before giving statements to the police, be sure you are calm and thinking clearly. Take your time and give only the facts.
You have the right to use the repair shop of your choice.
Your insurance company cannot require you to go to a particular shop; it is against the law.