Crash Course – What To Do After an Accident

car accident between gray SUV and black sedan

The combination of icy roads and a lead foot is an accident just waiting to happen.

Let’s face it – car wrecks are scary. Whether it is a minor fender bender or an accident that causes major damage, finding yourself in an auto accident can be stressful and traumatic.

Understandingly, many people are too overwhelmed to follow the proper procedures after an accident. But not doing so can cost you money and cause major problems.

It’s true that St. Louis residents are no strangers to driving on icy roads. Nonetheless, even the most cautious driver can find themselves in an accident. If it were you, would you know what to do?

States can vary on what procedures drivers must follow in the event of an accident. Let’s take a look at some basic guidelines—with a little help from Cars.com, State Farm Insurance, Find Law Motor Vehicle Accidents – First Steps and the dmv.org Missouri Accident Guide—at what you should do after an auto accident.

What to do at the Scene

According to the dmv.org Missouri Accident Guide, you should take these steps immediately following an accident:

  1. Move the vehicle off the road.
  2. Check if anyone is hurt. DO NOT MOVE the injured person. Call an ambulance.
  3. Call the police.
  4. If there’s traffic, or if the accident occurred at night or in bad weather, try to use flares, reflectors or flashlights to warn other drivers.
  5. Exchange information with all involved parties.
  6. Make sure to stay on the scene until a police officer tells you that it is okay to leave.
  7. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.

Additionally, there is a lot of useful information that drivers should be sure to collect.

From the other driver

  • Name
  • Address
  • Driver’s license number
  • Motor vehicle information (VIN, plate number)
  • Insurance policy number and name of company

From the police officer on scene

  • Name
  • Badge or ID number
  • Phone number
  • Police report number

*Bonus Tip: Be sure to ask the officer for a copy of the accident report. It may take a couple of days, but will be well worth it if the officer is needed to testify

Don’t Forget to Take Photos!

  • Vehicle damage
  • Accident location
  • Persons involved

What to doafter the Accident

Your responsibility does not end at the scene of the accident. There is still work to do until the incident is ultimately resolved. Here’s what Find Law recommends:

  • Notify your insurance agent
  • Keep track of your medical treatment
  • Get a property damage valuation
  • Use caution when discussing the incident
  • Be wary of early settlement offers
  • Consider hiring an attorney

Bonus Tips

  • Do not sign any document unless it’s for the police or your insurance agent. (State Farm Insurance)
  • Make immediate notes about the accident, including specific damages to all vehicles involved, witness information, etc. (State Farm Insurance)
  • If the name on an auto registration is different than the driver, jot down the relationship. (State Farm Insurance)
  • Be polite, but don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if you think it was. (State Farm Insurance)
  • State only the facts, and limit your discussion of the accident to the police and your insurance agent. (State Farm Insurance)
  • If possible, don’t leave the accident scene before the police and other drivers do. (State Farm Insurance)
  • Neither the other driver nor the police will need your Social Security number; don’t give it to them. (Cars.com)

About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration Services was founded in 1946 as St. Louis’ first in-home rug and carpet cleaning company, and is now the area’s largest commercial and residential cleaning company for carpet, rugs, furniture, and hard surfaces. With nearly 70 years of experience, Woodard is proud to serve as a preferred provider of water, fire, and smoke restoration services for residential, commercial, and institutional facilities. For more information, visit our website, or call 800.466.9308.


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