Car accidents are stressful, and shock can make figuring out what to do after an accident happens difficult. Here is a checklist of ten things to remember after an accident occurs. Although these won’t completely alleviate the stress of an accident, they can certainly help.


  1. Breathe and check for injuries: Collisions are surprising and scary. The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and calm down. Immediately after, check yourself and anyone else in both cars for injuries. If you are in doubt, call for an ambulance.
  2. Don’t apologize: It can be a natural impulse to apologize, regardless of fault, after an accident. Don’t do it. A statement as simple as “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there,” can later be taken as an admission of fault and you may be found liable by the insurance companies even if the accident wasn’t your fault or was no-fault.
  3. If the accident was minor, move: If your car is totaled, don’t worry about the traffic building up behind you. If the accident was a smaller fender bender though, there is no reason to leave your car in the middle of traffic. Both cars should move off to the side or into a nearby parking lot before continuing.
  4. If the accident wasn’t minor, set up flares: If your car is wrecked in the middle of the street, you need to set up flares or cones to let other cars know that there is an obstacle ahead of them. Some drivers are on autopilot or may not be paying attention, and the last thing you want after an accident is to be hit again.
  5. Call the police: The police are used to dealing with car accidents and are thinking straighter than either you or the other party involved. They can help take a report and gather evidence so things go more smoothly further down the line with the insurance companies.
  6. Gather evidence: Take photos, notes, and speak to witnesses who saw the accident. It is important that you do everything you can to document the accident because the more information you can give your insurance agent, the more they can help you. Also, don’t just take notes and photos about your car; get evidence from the entire accident.
  7. Get the other driver’s information: Make sure to write down their name, phone number, insurance information and any other information you might need. Also, if their information doesn’t match what is on the car’s registration, ask why and write down their relation to the car’s owner.
  8. Don’t leave the accident first: Unless you absolutely have to, stay until other people and the police have left the scene of the accident to be sure that nothing untrue is said.
  9. Call your insurance company as soon as possible: Regardless of fault, it is important to make sure that your insurance company is aware of the situation so that they can help you in dealing with the other party’s insurance agency.
  10. Take care in whom you talk to: If the other party’s insurance company contacts you, direct them to your insurance agent or attorney without further comment. Both are much more experienced in dealing with accidents than you are and are thus less likely to say something that the insurance company can use to pin blame on you.