Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is incredibly stressful, potentially painful and usually expensive. Knowing what steps to take if you find yourself in this scenario may mean the difference between panic and decisive action. Are you equipped to handle this challenging situation?

9 steps to take immediately following a car accident

  • Pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Safely exit traffic and wait on the side of the road.
  • Call 911. You may prefer not to, but most insurance agencies require a police report. File the report immediately so that you can remember all the details.
  • Give an accurate police report. To the best of your ability, relate everything you can remember about the collision. Include as much detail as you can. However, don’t guess. Be honest if you are unsure about an element of the story.
  • Take photos. Photographic evidence can be essential in the event of a complication or a lawsuit. Use your phone to take shots of the damage.
  • Exchange personal information and insurance details with the other driver(s). This information is essential for your insurance claim.
  • Make small talk. Build rapport with the other driver(s), if possible. Use your best judgment, however. If they are hostile and argumentative, protect yourself accordingly.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Accidents happen. Ohio sees more than 300,000 accidents on its roads each year.
  • Get medical attention. You may not realize in the moment that you have suffered an injury. Seek attention as soon as you feel any discomfort or immediately following the accident to confirm you are well. This will provide documentation in the off chance you need to file a personal injury claim later.
  • Report the accident to the Ohio BMV if the other driver was not insured and meets specific qualifications, they will investigate whether to revoke the other driver’s license. To merit a report, the accident must have caused an injury and more than $400 in damage. You must file the report within six months.

A car accident is a scary thing. However, being prepared is half the battle. Remain calm in the aftermath and respond with these steps for the best possible outcome.