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How to deal with a car accident

Car that has been in an accident.

Right after the accident, you should:

  1. Stop. If you can, move your car to the side of the road or out of the way of oncoming traffic. If you can’t move your car, stay in your car with your seatbelt fastened and wait for help. Warn other drivers with flares and hazard lights.
  2. Help or get help for injured people.
  3. Call 911 or the local police department to report the accident.
  4. Do not say that you caused the accident.
  5. Exchange the following information with the other
    • name
    • address
    • phone number
    • insurance company
    • insurance policy number
    • driver license number
    • license plate number
  6. Write down:
    • description of the other car(s) – year, make, model, and color
    • exact location of accident
    • how the accident happened
    • phone numbers and addresses of witnesses
  7. Work with the police, but do not admit or accept blame for the accident.

After an accident, you and your parents or guardian should:

  • Call or see your doctor if you have any injuries.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company.
  • Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if you need to report the accident.
  • Contact your insurance company and/or a lawyer if you are sued.
  • Contact a lawyer if you need legal advice or help making a claim or dealing with your insurance company.


Content last reviewed September 22, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013