What Do I Do After a Car Accident?

After an Accident on the Road

The first 10 minutes and first 10 hours after a car accident are the most vital—whether or not you are at fault. If you need to contact a personal injury attorney after the accident, you will need to supply some information that will help protect you or help better your chances of receiving a claim award.

What Should Be in Your Accident Kit

Every car should have an accident kit stored safely in the trunk. Not only does this kit provide some peace of mind that you will have what you need in the unfortunate event that you’re in an accident, it could save your life. Here’s what to include:

  1. Basic medical supplies (first aid kit)
  2. Warning reflectors
  3. A pen and paper for notes
  4. A disposable camera (in the event your cell phone breaks during the accident)
  5. Medical alert cards for any family member with allergies or other medical conditions
  6. Our top 10 list of what to do after an accident

Next, know what to do in the first 10 minutes and 10 hours after an accident. Here we offer you our own road accident instructions.

What You Need to Do In the First 10 Minutes After an Accident

  1. Stay Calm After the Accident and Breathe

    Make sure you and your passengers are safe and assess your health condition.

  2. Call 9-1-1 if Anyone is Injured in the Accident

    If anyone in your car is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately.

  3. Get to a Safe Location Away From the Accident

    If it’s safe to do so, move people and cars to the side of the road and out of traffic.

  4. Turn Hazard Lights On So You’re Visible

    This helps to warn other drivers to avoid an ancillary collision.

  5. Exit Your Vehicle Only If it is Safe to Do So

    Being cautious to avoid traffic, get out of your vehicle to you can check on the drivers and passengers of other vehicles. If you are injured, stay where you are.

  6. Call the Police for an Accident Report

    You must obtain a police report of the accident, even if the accident is minor and there are no injuries. Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police arrive.

  7. Be Polite to the Other Driver

    Be courteous to others involved in the accident, but don’t blame others and don’t admit fault.

  8. Take Pictures of the Accident From Every Angle

    Using the camera in your accident kit or your cell phone, take photos of the vehicle damage and the accident scene.

  9. Exchange Information With the Other Driver and Witnesses

    Collect the name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number and insurance company number from the other drivers—and give them your own information.

  10. Talk to Witnesses For Their Information

    The police will also talk to witnesses, but be sure to ask for witness names, phone numbers and addresses.

In the First 10 Hours After an Accident

  1. Secure Your Vehicle and Retain Your Valuables

    Remove valuables and personal items from your vehicle if it needs to be transported to a repair shop.

  2. Get Medical Attention Whether you Need it or Not

    Even if you think your injuries are minor, get medical attention to ensure you are not seriously injured.

  3. Write Notes About What You Saw and Experienced

    Record the details of the accident as soon as possible, including the weather, time, location, statements made, etc.

  4. Contact Your Insurance Agent

    Get in touch with your insurance agent as soon as you can.

  5. Revisit the Scene of the Accident

    Go back to the accident scene shortly after the accident and take photos. Look for skid marks or anything else that may be relevant.

  6. Document Any Injuries That Occurred

    Take photos of your injuries, if they are visible.

  7. Get The Police Reports Surrounding the Accident

    These may be available on the scene, or contact the police afterward if necessary.

  8. Evaluate Damage to You and Your Vehicle

    If your vehicle was transported to a repair shop, get an estimate for repairs. Your insurance company will also send an adjuster.

  9. Contact Your Employer for Time Off or Support

    Let your employer know if you are too injured to work. Then document this. e one of your first phone calls after an accident.

Make Your Time Count After an Accident

The first 10 minutes and 10 hours after an accident are the most important for your health and safety. These hours are also vital if you plan to work with a personal injury attorney to file a claim. Use our road accident instructions to protect yourself and your property and keep our top 10 list handy.

Do you Need Help With Legal Representation after an Accident?

If you are injured or there is extensive damage to your vehicle, talk to us, your Orange County personal injury attorney, before speaking to an adjuster or anyone from the other driver’s insurance company.