Print out the form, place it in your car, and hope you never have to use it. This handy form will tell you exactly what to do after a collision occurs, help you properly document the incident, and assist you with filing a claim. While there are many guides out there that tell you what to do after an accident, most of them simply tell you to asses the situation, document the damages, then file a claim without providing any direct or specific details. Real helpful right…. At Shift Insurance, we have created you a comprehensive accident cheat sheet that will tell you exactly what to do after a collision occurs, help you properly document the incident, and assist you with filing a claim. You can rely on us in your time of need.
|Click to download a printable version|
What To Do After A Car Accident
1. Stop. You must stop after any collision or you may be charged with a “hit and run”.
2. Check to see if anyone needs medical attention. Your first priority, regardless of how upset you are, is to make sure that anyone who needs medical attention is taken care of. Call 911 or your local authority for immediate assistance.
3. Keep yourself and other safe. If no one is injured or killed, move your vehicle off the street or highway. If you do not move your vehicle or have it removed from the street or highway, any peace officer or authorized personnel may have your vehicle removed and impounded (CVC §§22651 and 22651.05). If you cannot get out of your car or it is not safe to try, keep your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazard lights, call 911, and wait for help to arrive.
4. Contact the authorities. It is important to note that the authorities will sometimes try NOT to respond to an accident unless somebody is injured or needs medical attention. With that in mind, it is extremely beneficial and important to have an officer come out and file an incident report. If they will not respond, it is important to get unbiased 3rd party testimonials on the incident and file an incident report as soon as possible.
5. Look for witnesses. Get as many 3rd party accounts of the incident as possible. This will help the insurance company adjusters determine fault especially if there is no police or incident report.
6. Document everything and exchange information. You are required by law to exchange information with all parties involved. You will want to gather as many details about the accident as possible. The more evidence you collect, the better chance you have to receive fair compensation from an insurance company. You may want to have a form for documenting traffic collisions and for recording as many details about the accident as possible such as the “Shift Insurance Accident Cheat Sheet” listed below.
7. Report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Regardless of who is at fault, you must fill out and submit an SR1 form within ten days of the collision to the DMV if:
- There was property damage of more than $750 or
- Anyone was injured (no matter how minor) or
- Anyone was killed
For more specific details and insight into the process of documenting and reporting a claim, read our explanation of coverage guide.
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