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A personal injury attorney can help the accident recovery process by providing information regarding the practical and legal aspects of personal injury law and auto accident claims.
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Auto Accident Checklist

STEP 5: What to do after an auto accident:

  1. Call your insurance company and file your claim
  2. Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to see if you are required to file the accident with the state department.
  3. If there are any claims made against you, or you would like to file a claim, locate an attorney
  4. If you have been injured in any way, see a doctor for a medical evaluation
  5. Keep a record of all expenses incurred as a result of the accident and keep ALL receipts
  6. If you have been injured, keep a record of how you have been affected: yourself, your work and/or your personal relationships

Depending upon the nature of the traffic accident and the extent of the damages and injuries involved, a series of auto accident reports must be filed. Sometimes the reporting of an auto accident is mandatory, sometimes it is voluntary. Please check with your state laws regarding accidents. Reports typically must be filed with three sets of organizations:


The law of the state where the accident occurs may require a police report to be filed. However, as there are many variations in state and local laws -- and even local practices -- we can not address them all. Generally if any personal injury occurs in an auto accident, a police report must be filed. A police report generally also is required when property damage exceeds a certain dollar amount (often $200 to $500). The manner of making the report also varies. Some local police only take certain auto accident reports over the telephone, some require a trip to the station house. To be safe, at least a telephone call to local police should be made shortly after an auto accident to determine local practice and the information you are required to provide. A great resource for locating the traffic investigation unit of the police department in your area is the ARC Network. They have a directory of traffic police with complete contact information.


(See Step Two)


Some state DMV's maintain auto accident reports. The requirement for these reports differ between the various states (for example, California requires every operator of a vehicle involved in an accident to file a "SR-1" whenever there is an accident with personal injury or property damage in excess of $500). Typically this report must be filed within 5 or 10 days of the accident. Failure to file such a required report could lead to suspension of your driving privilege. In other words, your driver's license could be taken away from you, regardless of fault, if you do not promptly file a report with your state's DMV. If you or someone was injured, it may make sense to speak to a personal injury attorney BEFORE filing that report! Links to the DMV can be found by clicking here.


After the accident you should take some time to review the Research section of The Accident Resource web site. This section contains information on traffic accident statistics, automotive safety, automotive recalls and defects, automotive safety restraints, state laws and other information.

Continue to the Research Section

How to find help during the accident process

The Accident Resource has compiled a host of professional directories to help you locate qualified professionals who can help you through the traffic accident process. Our professional directories help you locate qualified personal injury attorneys, medical specialists (chiropractic specialists), insurance companies, expert witnesses, traffic investigation police and others. We have broken everything down so you can easily find qualified professionals in your area.

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medical information
If you have been injured in a traffic accident, it is important to visit a qualified doctor to evaluate your injuries. Trying to "heal yourself" could cause your body more harm.
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traffic accident insurance information
Being inv loved in a traffic accident can be a very stressful situation. Dealing with insurance claim adjusters can be just as stressful. It doesn't have to be..
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expert witness
If you have been involved in a serious injury accident your attorney may need to retain the services of "expert". These professionals are trained to reconstruct all types of accidents.
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traffic police
If you have been involved in a traffic accident, use this section to help locate the traffic investigation division of various police departments in the United States.
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