What to Do Immediately After an Accident

Despite all the defensive driving skills learned in high school, automobile accidents are inevitable. Many can be avoided by paying attention, eliminating distractions, and wearing a seat belt, but complete prevention is not feasible. No one wants to be in an accident; however, everyone should be prepared for one. There are some actions that need to happen as soon as possible.

Get Help

The first reaction should be to call 9-1-1 for assistance. This is critical even if no apparent injuries are suffered by those involved. People can quickly go into shock, not notice pain, or be unaware of a soft tissue injury or a serious bruise. Calling for medical care at the scene is also wise should any injury present itself shortly after the accident. The sore ankle may prove to be a broken or crushed bone when the swelling goes down.

Get to Safety

Move to the side of the road if possible. Put up a make-shirt barrier if someone cannot be moved from the street or sidewalk. Some people are actually injured by passers-by and drivers trying to get a better look at damage after the initial accident has occurred. Once emergency personnel arrive, they will take control of clearing the area and keeping people safe.

Protect yourself and passengers from any further danger by being proactive. If the extent of an injury is unknown, do not move that person out of the way.


Take pictures of any injuries, take pictures of any damage, and try to tale pictures of the crowd if able. Documentation will assist law enforcement, insurance agents, and lawyers in determining what happened. Note anything unusual about the scene, other drivers, or circumstances for reference. This can make a huge difference in the outcome of any law enforcement or legal actions taken later.

An article found at www.benzinsider.com provides tips for actions taken after an accident. A list of suggestions of materials to keep in the glove compartment of the vehicle is also included for documentation purposes and reminders of what information to gather. Questions to ask possible witnesses, what notes to write down, and the information needed from the first officer at the scene are also outlined.