What To Do If You Have An Accident

Traffic accident and to drivers fighting

My mom inspired this post today.  She called me freaking out about her car.  She got into a little fender bender in the grocery store parking lot earlier in the evening.  I really couldn’t understand what she was saying under all her angry undertones.  It must run in the family.

She kept remarking about how her car is damaged, how it is not perfect anymore.  She has a 2005 Mustang GT.  She has low mileage.  She barely drives it because she is afraid of it getting scratched, rained on, etc.  I started to ask her the pertinent questions and her answers were pretty vague.  She told me that the woman was driving a Mercedes, and that her son was a manager at a car dealership.  My response was, “and…what is her name, the license plate, the insurance information?”  My mom responded with, “she told me to call her son.”  The woman was elderly, but lived locally (so she said).

My mom called the woman’s son, and he told my mom that the accident was 50/50, and both of their fault.  But, in reality, the woman backed into my mom. My mom called me back for the third time, and I made Angry Husband talk to her, while I rolled my eyes.  He told her to call her insurance tomorrow.

I’m annoyed, because my mom knows better.  I was involved in a traffic collision when I was eighteen.  I was sued over this accident.  I didn’t win.  She knows what we went through.

So I thought I would share some tips on what to do if you are in a traffic accident:

1.  Stop your car.  If you can move it, pull over to a safe location.

2.  Check to see if anyone is injured.  Immediately call “911” if there are injuries.

3.  Contact the police.  Some police departments only take injury traffic reports.  Tell the dispatcher the details of your accident.

4.  Collect Information.

a.  Exchange contact information with everyone involved, including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Nimber(s)

b.  Get the following information about all vehicles involved:

  • Year, Make, and Model
  • License Plate
  • Insurance Carrier
  • Insurance Policy Number (make sure to check the policy expiration dates)

c.  Gather contact information from any witnesses at the scene, including:

  • Name
  • Address(s)
  • Phone Number
  • 5. If you have a camera, take pictures.  Even if it is your cellphone camera.  Take pictures of the damage to both cars, and the license plate.

    6.  Call your insurance.  I don’t care if the person says that they are going to pay for the damage. People lie. Do you really want to end up paying for a $1,000 worth of damage, when the other party flakes?

Photo credit from Flickr. Tips from Geico.

12 comments
Becca - Our Crazy Boys
Becca - Our Crazy Boys

Oh no! Your Mom sounds like mine... And did I read that right? Her son, on the phone, told her it was half her fault? And he wasn't there??

Kim
Kim

Thanks Angry Julie...well done!

Mikalisa
Mikalisa

First off..glad she is ok..but yea, u 4get what 2 do after an accident. Cheap ins is bad..gotta do ALL the paperwk ureself. Gr8 ins is worth the $. No paperwk! Let me tell u.

liz
liz

I, like so many people, have a camera phone, but it never would have dawned on me to use it. Good advice!

Adrian
Adrian

Thank you. That is some serious no-nonsense advice. I may print that out and put it in my glove box because I tend to go all to pieces and forget my good sense in emotional/stressful situations. I did have one incident that was kind of sweet. This elderly lady backed into me in the cramped parking lot of Honeybaked Ham. It was just a little bump, didn't even wake up my son who was asleep in the back seat, but the poor old dear was crying, and shaking, and apologizing all over the place. She reminded me so much of my own mother, that I just gave her a big hug and told her to be more careful next time.

Maura
Maura

Great blog, Julie. Love your fresh, down-to-earth writing style. Great tips, too--I hope I'll never need them!

NotJustAnotherJen
NotJustAnotherJen

With no offense to your mom, but I've been feeling lately that my mom is starting to lose here senses. That sounds exactly like my mom. Something that is so ordinary, she just doesn't know what to do and missed some basic and pertinent information. Agh! Aging parents! I think that's going to be a much talked about mommy blogger topic. We're all in this together. I hope that your mom has calmed down and is okay.

alicia
alicia

Great tips. I hope this never happens to me though. lol.

Joni
Joni

That last one is the one people usually goof up on. I actually lucked up and was able to pay a guy only $75 for some damage to his car I did one time. Lucky for me because it was well over that amount. He later tried to claim it on his insurance but was unsuccessful because I had already paid him. AND...I was able to get a receipt from him too showing I had given him the money. His loss. But most people don't have that happen to them and most people are on the other side of this story. It is always important to call the police and to call your insurance. Even if your car is in perfect condition, a little fender bender could cost more than your car is currently worth, especially if you have an older model vehicle.