If you’ve just been in a minor car accident, it’’s very likely that you aren’t thinking straight. You might have minor whiplash, you’re angry, and you have a damaged car. First things first, it’s important to remain calm. Then you’re going to want to start a quick process to protect yourself and your future claim. You might have never been in this situation before, in that case— we have you covered. Following, you will quick to do list for handling a minor car accident in a timely, and efficient manner.

How to Handle A Minor Car Accident: Making Sure You’re Safe and Covered

First things first, are you okay?

Are you dizzy? Can you see straight? Do you have feeling in your extremities? It is important to give yourself a once over. Adrenaline is likely pulsing through your body, and that typically makes it difficult to know the extent of your injuries right away. If you need emergency medical attention, then the rest of the accident can be handled secondarily. First things first, you need to make sure you are okay to handle the situation. Not to mention, it’s a bit more difficult to place a claim for injuries after you’ve left the scene of the accident.

If you are able— move your vehicle out of the roadway

It is the law to do so, for one. But also, trying to hash out this whole process while cars are whizzing by and honking— is pretty nerve wracking. You’re likely to forget something. So, if your car is not smoking, or totaled, then it is important for you to get it to the shoulder— same goes for the other party.

Call the police

Many choose to lead with this— others choose not to do it at all. My advise? Call in the accident. It is not uncommon for the at-fault party to suggest handling the claim outside of the law and between the two of you. That is entirely up to you, but often ill-advised. What happens in most of these cases, is that the guilty party will avoid paying and eventually disappear. Obviously, you are welcome to handle the accident in whatever manner you see fit— but, coming from experience— call the police and have them create an official accident report

Check out the damage, exchange insurance information, and call as soon as possible

Examine both vehicles as you wait. Take pictures of both vehicles and their damage, as well as the scene of the accident. Both of you will want to do so for your own records, and in the case of disagreement. Swap insurance information, names, phone numbers, write down license plate info— document everything. When you have all information, call your insurance company. It is best to do so as soon as possible. Dealing with an accident always takes a while, and most of it is waiting around. So, use the time to call your insurance. Ask their opinion, make sure before you leave that you’ve gotten everything they need— let them guide you.

The key here, is to remain calm and get it handled as soon as possible. An accident is less than ideal, but it is not the end of the world. So, follow your steps, document, and move on with your day. We wish you luck in dealing with this process.