What to Do After a Car Accident
If you have ever been involved in a car accident, you may remember feeling angry, panic-stricken and uncertain of what to do. By following a few simple steps after a car accident, you can prevent additional injuries, reduce costs and expedite vehicle repairs and your insurance claim.
First, print a copy of Erie Insurance’s guide, In Case You Have an Auto Accident, and keep it in your vehicle for reference.
Far away from home?
See Road Trips Gone Wrong for more information about handling a car accident when you’re out of town.
Next, follow these suggestions to help you stay composed after the car accident:
- Pull over. Move your vehicle off the road and out of harm’s way. Protect yourself, your auto and any other property as best you can.
- Check for injuries. Check to make sure no one was injured in the car accident. If someone was, dial 911 for help.
- Call the police as soon as possible if someone is injured, damage is extensive, your vehicle has been stolen or you need assistance.
- Exchange insurance information. Check the date on the other driver's insurance ID to make sure his or her insurance is not out of date. As a backup measure, record the other driver’s phone number, address, license plate number and the make and model of each car involved for your insurance company’s reference. Do not discuss who is at fault; leave that decision to the police and the insurance investigators.
- Record the details of the car accident, including the date, time, location and weather conditions, while you’re at the accident scene. Use the guide, In Case You Have an Auto Accident, to help you capture the details. This information will help you later when you fill out the formal claims report. For insurance purposes, it’s also a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your car or carry a cell phone with a camera to take photos of your vehicle from every angle.
- Talk to witnesses. If you notice any witnesses, take down their names and phone numbers.
- Obtain a copy of the police report. After the police have completed the report for the car accident, ask for a copy for your insurance company. Write down the officer’s name and department along with the incident number.
- Report the claim to your Agent or local ERIE office. Be sure to call on the day of the car accident when everything is still fresh in your mind. If you are a commercial driver, let your employer know about the accident right away.
If you need to report a claim, you can also report the claim online. For more information, refer to these frequently asked claims questions and answers.