Car collisions often occur within a blink of an eye and catch many people off guard, leaving them wondering what to do in the aftermath. It’s common for drivers of all levels of experience to overlook important details and critical information needed to prevent delays in the claims process.

Take a look this checklist to aid drivers with collecting vital information. If you are injured in a car crash, make sure you wait for police and ambulance services to arrive before taking further action.

Safety first:

  • Check to see if anyone has been injured. If so, dial 9-1-1 immediately for medical help. If you are injured, don’t move and wait for help.
  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • Move the vehicles, if drivable, to the shoulder or as far away from traffic as possible.
  • Set up road flares and orange warning cones or reflective triangles, if available, to further warn other drivers. These should be set up in front of and behind the vehicles.
  • Call the police to complete a report of the incident.

Gather license, registration and insurance info from the other driver(s).

Take a photo of their license(s), registration and insurance info, if possible. Make sure that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and/or license plate is visible.

Collect contact information for the driver(s), including home/work/cell phone numbers and an email address.

Note the make/model and year of the involved vehicles.

Take photos or video of the scene making sure to capture all vehicle damage, the vehicle license plates, area where the collision occurred and the people involved, if it can be done safely.

Note the date, time and location of the collision. If possible, take photos of nearby road signs or notable landmarks (e.g., gas stations, restaurants, etc.).

Take a photo of something that has the current date for proof (e.g., newspaper clipping or screenshot of website), if possible.

Collect contact information from witnesses.

Sketch the location of the collision, if possible.

Get the responding police officer’s name and badge number.

Note the accident report number and a contact number to request a copy of the report.

Call your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible.

Note the name of the insurance agent handling your file, date and time of the call, a contact number and the claim number.