What to do if you get in a car accident

Injuries and accidents involving motor vehicles are extremely common. An estimated 2.35 million people are injured or disabled due to car accidents each year in the United States while over 37,000 people are killed each year. See the road crash statistics HERE. Auto accidents and injuries cost somewhere around $230.6 billion per year (which equates to about $820 per person in the United States, per year). With the creation of smart cars incorporating accident avoidance technology, the hope is to reduce the tremendous economic and human toll on the public, but that reality is still far off. Even the most advanced technology cannot eliminate all possible human error. Being prepared for whatever happens requires a plan in case you are ever in an auto collision.

  • If anyone is hurt, immediately call 911;
  • If your car is not disabled, move it off the roadway to a safe location;
  • Even if no one is hurt, call to notify the police of any accident;
  • Obtain the names of any witnesses on the scene;
  • Exchange insurance information with other drivers who may be responsible or may have suffered damage because of the collision;
  • Take photos of the scene and any damage to vehicles;
  • Do not discuss fault or admit to “causing” the accident;
  • Report the accident to your auto insurance company and open a claim if necessary;
  • If your car is damaged, you are free to get an estimate or repair your vehicle at your choice of auto shops and no insurer can require you to go to any particular shop;
  • If the accident is your fault, cooperate with your insurance company or any attorney your insurer hires to represent you.

Each situation varies, but these are some general guidelines to help if you are in an auto accident. Please drive carefully, regardless of what technology your car has, and contact an attorney if you need assistance dealing with the aftermath of a car accident.