What to Do After a Car Accident

a person driving a car

100 million Americans will take a family vacation this year, and many of these vacations will involve a road trip of some sort. Heading out on a road trip can be an amazing adventure, but it’s important to know how to handle anything that might happen. Unfortunately, car accidents are common, and when you’re in a new location, getting into an accident can be especially scary. Here’s what you need to do if you’re in a car accident while on vacation. 

Pull Over and Make Sure Everyone is Okay

This is an extremely important first step after you’ve been in a car accident. If you’re on a family vacation, pull over and make sure everyone in your car is okay before you get out of the car and approach the other driver. If someone in your car needs medical attention, call for an ambulance. After you’ve made sure everyone is safe in your car, get out of your vehicle and check in with the other driver. Hopefully they have also pulled over and you can make sure everyone in the other vehicle is also safe. 

Contact the Police

You should either call the police to the scene (you must do this if you’re blocking traffic, if there’s danger in the road from the damage, like glass, or if someone is hurt) or file a police report at the station after the fact. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you should file the report when you get home from your trip. You want to make sure there’s a record of the accident in the county where it occurred. If the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will instruct you on how to fill out the accident report form. Otherwise, you can complete it at the station or potentially online. 

Contact Your Insurance

Filing a police report is not the same as filing an insurance claim, so you will also need to do this after the accident. Make sure you’ve gotten important information from the driver of the other vehicle: insurance information, car make and model, and contact number. You will need all of this in order to file an insurance claim. You’ll also want to make note of where and when the accident happened, as well as what exactly occurred. You can then call your insurance company and let them know what happened and where you are. They will most likely be able to send an insurance agent to you so they can evaluate the damage done to the car and start processing your insurance claim.   

Find a Repair Shop

Obviously, if you find yourself in an accident far from home, you will need to get your car fixed before you can continue on your journey. This means you might need to find an auto body shop in Michigan, even if you’re from New Mexico. If you’re in touch with an insurance agent in the area, he or she will most likely have a recommendation of where to take your car to get work done. You could also ask the visitor’s center, if they have one, or even just query your waitress at the local diner. If you’re in a small town, chances are there’s only one body shop so the locals will know where to send you. Just make sure that when you do find a repair shop you’ve told your insurance agent and they have had a chance to see the car before any work is done. This is very important for your insurance claim. 

Ultimately, you may want to contact a local car accident lawyer to make sure you’ve handled everything appropriately. Since you are in a new location and most likely are tired from your previous travels, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Getting into a car accident while on the road can be overwhelming, so make sure you know what to do and who to contact.