The Ultimate Car Accident Checklist

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you understand the initial feeling of shock that immediately sweeps over you. At such a time it can be hard to think clearly! In case you do find yourself in an accident, we want you to be prepared, knowing just what you need to do.

Hopefully, if you are in an accident, you will be uninjured and your vehicle will have nothing more than a scratch! To help you, we’ve put together information in an acrostic, using the word S.C.R.A.T.C.H. We recommend that you print a copy to keep in your car’s glove compartment. Or, you could bookmark the article on your phone, for easy access.

S      Stop

Stop if you are involved in an accident, even if it’s a minor one. Besides being kind to your neighbor, it is a legal obligation. Otherwise, it would be considered a “hit and run” accident, and you could be prosecuted.

 Stop and ask yourself, “Am I hurt? In pain? Bleeding?” If you are okay, get out of your car to see if anyone else was hurt and if there was any damage done. Turn on your hazard lights and use cones, triangles, or flares, if available.

C     Call

Call the police, unless you know for sure someone else has done so. Then call or text a family member or friend. It’s important to let someone who cares about you know what has happened, even if it appears to be just a minor accident.

Call to everyone involved in the accident, as well as observers, to move away from traffic. But, if at all possible, don’t move the cars until the police arrive.

R     Refrain

Refrain from sharing too much information.

The involved parties must share names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and contact information … along with insurance name, contact number, and policy number. That’s it! Do not allow them to take a picture of your driver’s license. You probably do not know the other person and they do not know you: it doesn’t hurt to be cautious. If they try to get you to admit fault or suggest you handle things without insurance, collect their information, but do not commit to anything.

Refrain from judgment.

Don’t tell the people involved who you think are at fault. You should only talk about the accident with the police, other first responders, and your insurance representative. Your insurance company adjuster will investigate and determine who was at fault. You must not assume responsibility or liability.

A   Ask for help.

Don’t hesitate to ask the police, EMTs, and onlookers for help when you need it!

For towing we recommend Hochstetler’s at (319) 364-1097 or Darrah’s at (319) 363-7900, both in Cedar Rapids. Ask them to tow it to our facility and we will pay the towing bill when it arrives. If you suspect that your car is totaled, you can find out for sure when our technicians look it over. We will work with your insurance company throughout the repair process and maintain communication between all parties to alleviate as much stress as possible. To learn more about our repair process, read here.

Contact your agent or insurance company’s claims number as soon as possible. Your agent will walk you through how to file your claim. If your insurance company has an app, you may be able to begin the process on-site. But it’s fine if you wait.

T     Take deep breaths.

Purposefully take several deep breaths in through your mouth and let the air out slowly through your nose. This will help increase your oxygen intake and will calm you. If they’re not there yet, help should be on its way!

C     Checklist

Here’s a list of things you need to have for your records:

1. Driver

□ Name the other driver:

□ Address and phone number of the other driver:

2. Insurance

□ Other driver’s insurance company name:

□ Other driver’s insurance policy number:

3. Vehicle

□ Vehicle makes (Toyota):

□ Their vehicle model (Sienna):

□ The vehicle color:

□ License plate number (take a photo and/or write down):

□ Vehicle registration information:

□ VIN (vehicle identification number):

4. Details of the Collision

□ Date and time:

□ Weather/visibility:

□ Address, as close as possible:

□ Which direction you were going:

□ Which way the other car was going:

□ Take photos of the scene:

□ Write out every detail about what happened on the back of this paper or record your account on your phone:

5. Other People

□ Names and contact info of witnesses:

□ Names, badge numbers, and contact information for police officers and medical professionals who came to the scene.

H     Hospital

Even if you were not badly hurt, it may be wise to stop at the ER for an examination. It may be something “minor” like whiplash, but conditions can have lasting effects for which you may need medical care. Include their assessment in your insurance report.

In review, if you are involved in a car accident, remember to:

S – Stop

C – Call the police

R – Refrain

A – Ask for help

T – Take deep breaths

C – Checklist

H – Hospital

For more information about what to do if you are in a collision, read this article on our website. We wish you safe travels! If we can ever be of any help, please let us know, and we will be there for you.