Steps to Take After a Car Accident

After a Car Accident

A car accident is a chaotic experience that nobody likes going through, but it’s also something almost everyone will have to deal with at some point in their lives. In fact, insurance companies estimate that you will file a claim for a car accident about once every 17.9 years. This means the average person will have at least two accidents by the time they’re 36!

There’s no reason to worry too much, though. The vast majority of accidents don’t result in serious injury or death and, following the right procedure, the events after an accident can be fairly routine. Below are some steps to help guide you through the post-accident process and make it a much less stressful ordeal.

Immediate Aftermath of a Car Accident

The first step you should always take after a car accident is to make sure everyone in each of the vehicles involved in the accident is okay. Most accidents won’t cause injuries, but injuries do occur and some can be life-threatening. That is why it is important to check on everyone at the scene and call 911 if anyone is hurt.

After you have made sure everyone is okay, the next step is to exchange insurance information. Regardless of who is at fault, it’s the insurance companies who will communicate with each other, resolve the situation, and determine who gets reimbursed for any damages or injuries sustained. You should always keep pen and paper handy in your car to take down the company and phone number of the other vehicle owner’s insurance. You should also freely provide your own information to the other driver, regardless of how big or small damages are or whose fault it appears to be. If a police officer arrives on the scene, they will likely ask for everyone’s insurance card and handle this process.


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Once insurance info has been exchanged, it is safe to leave the scene as long as your car is drive-able. If it is not drive-able, or if you suspect there might be any issues resulting from the accident that could make driving home dangerous, then call a tow service to safely deliver your vehicle to your home or to a lot.

Turning it Over to Insurance Companies

It’s important that you call and make a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. Be sure to answer all of their questions thoroughly and be as detailed about the events of the accident as you can. Before you call, it may be helpful to jot down careful notes about the accident so that your story will be consistent when you need to tell it again to the other driver’s insurer in the days or weeks to come.

When the insurance companies have gotten statements from all drivers involved, they will work together to determine who was at fault and which company is liable for the damages. During this time, your adjuster may ask you to get the damages to your vehicle appraised at the insurance company’s preferred auto repair shop or by one of their own appraisers. This number will be used to determine how much the liable insurance company will owe for repairs or replacement.

Making a Decision about Your Car

If you have full-coverage insurance or if you are determined to not be at fault in the accident, then you will be offered a check to either cover the repairs on your car or to replace your totaled car based on current Kelley Blue Book pricing. To make sure your insurance check covers all of the repairs, it’s a good idea to go to your insurance company’s preferred repair shop, especially if they are the ones who gave you the original estimate. If your car is a total loss, you will be given a check to replace your car, usually with one of lesser value.

You may not have these options, however. If the accident was determined to be your fault, and you only have liability insurance, then you are going to be left with a damaged car—potentially not drive-able—and faced with the cost of repairing or replacing it yourself. You do have options, though. You may not get an insurance check of equivalent value, but CashforCars.com will buy your damaged vehicle, even if it’s totaled. The money you can get for your car can go towards buying a new vehicle and getting you back to your normal life.

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