What to do in an accident (step-by-step):

Ok, you’re in an accident. Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be ok. We’ve put together a handy step-by-step process designed to help streamline this emotionally fraught ordeal.

Step 1: Make sure everyone involved is safe.

  • Take stock in your immediate surroundings.
  • Does anything hurt or feel numb?
  • Check on the rest of your car’s occupants
  • Call 911 immediately if anyone is injured or seriously hurt.

Step 2: Try to move your car, if possible, off the road and into a safe location.

  • Prioritize safety by turning on hazard lights and moving to a safe location.

Step 3: Contact the authorities.

  • Some crashes are so minor as to not technically require a police report.
  • Make sure to get the police officer’s information.

Step 4: Get the other driver’s information

  • Insurance!
  • Remember to get the police’s information too!

Step 5: Take detailed photos and notes of the accident.

  • Include the description of the other car(s) and draw pictures even if necessary.

Step 6: Take pictures of the entire crash scene with your phone.

Step 7: Notify your insurance company.

  • Whatever you do, DO NOT SETTLE YOUR CLAIM at this stage!

Step 8: Make an appointment with your doctor.

Step 9: Contact a personal injury lawyer that handles auto accident cases. 

  • They work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not have to pay them for anything until your case is settled. Their fee will be a percentage of that settlement (usually between 20 and 33 percent).
  • Most firms will give each caller a free consultation to determine if the case is worth pursuing for their office. If they think your case will make them money, they’ll likely take it or refer it to another office. If no firm will take your case, you still have the option of contacting the state bar.
  • Make sure to avoid agreeing to a legal settlement prior to discussing your options with an attorney. Remember, it’s a free call so you literally have nothing to lose!

Step 10: Follow your counsel’s legal advice going forward.

  • At this stage you’ve done your part.
  • Follow the advice of the experts from here on out.
  • Best of luck!


Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, but knowing what to do immediately after an accident can help you stay calm and safe. The first step is to ensure your safety and call for medical assistance if needed. Collecting information and documenting the scene of the accident is crucial for filing insurance claims. It is also important to avoid discussions about responsibility at the scene of the accident.

Reporting the accident online has several advantages, and understanding your insurance policy can help you make informed decisions. Choosing the right repair shop for your vehicle is also essential. To learn more about what to do after a car accident, download our comprehensive checklist now.