The fender bender you were just in appears to be minor. No one looks injured and there is minimal damage to the vehicles. First breathe a sigh of relief – then take these precautions to help prevent your small accident from becoming a big problem.
Don’t drive away.
Do stay at the scene and move your vehicle to a safe place out of traffic even if there appears to be no damage. If the other car is parked and the owner isn’t around, leave a note with your name and contact information.
Don’t assume there aren’t injuries.
Do assess yourself and your passengers. Even low-impact collisions can cause injuries, some not appearing until days after the accident.
Don’t sign any documents and avoid accepting or offering cash for repairs. You may end up paying out-of-pocket to repair damage to your car that only appears minor, or you could pay the other driver more than necessary.
Do stay calm. Take notes and photos, and exchange information with the other driver, including your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance company, and policy number.
Don’t assume an accident is too minor to be reported.
Do call the police or file a report on your own. This will help your insurance agent handle your claim. An accident report could also help protect you from issues that may arise later about the extent of damage to your vehicle or injuries to you and the other driver.
Don’t forget to notify your State Farm agent.
Do discuss your options for handling potential claims.
The State Farm Pocket Agent® smartphone app makes it easy to capture the essential details of an accident. Pocket Agent can help you diagram the accident scene, record witnesses’ names and numbers, contact your agent, and even locate nearby repair shops.
What To Do After an Auto Accident
Auto accidents are unexpected and stressful. Even the most careful drivers may be involved. If you are in an accident, State Farm is committed to helping restore your peace of mind as soon as possible. If you have recently been involved in an accident begin reporting a claim.
- Carry a set of cones, warning triangles, or emergency flares in your trunk to help alert traffic.
- It also helps to have a pen and a card with any relevant medical information for you and your family.
Immediately after an accident
- Take a deep breath and stay calm.
- Check for injuries; call an ambulance when in doubt.
- If accident is minor, move cars to a safe place, out of traffic.
- Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights and use cones, warning triangles or flares for safety.
- Call the police, even if the accident is minor.
- Notify your insurance agent immediately.
Other important tips
- Do not sign any document unless it’s for the police or your insurance agent.
- Make immediate notes about the accident, including specific damages to all vehicles involved, witness information, etc.
- If the name on an auto registration is different than the driver, jot down the relationship.
- Be polite, but don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
- State only the facts, and limit your discussion of the accident to the police and your insurance agent.
- If possible, don’t leave the accident scene before the police and other drivers do.
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