What to do when you get in a car accident – 10 Things Checklist

A car accident on the road, on the highway? Discover the right reflexes to adopt. Simple collision or bodily injury, your car accident involves a third party or you alone. What to do when you get in a car accident?

Protect your passengers

Witness or stakeholder in a car accident? After turning on your lights, park your damaged vehicle carefully so as not to interfere with the emergency services. If you can move it. Do the same if you are a witness and provide assistance to accident victims.

Put on the yellow safety vest before exiting your car on the opposite side of the traffic. Turn off the ignition of damaged vehicles and use the warning lights when possible. Disconnect the batteries, if possible, and stabilize the vehicles by applying the handbrake.

To limit the risk of an “accident” in the area, clear the road. On the road, mark the area by placing a warning triangle 30 meters upstream of the accident.

Contact the emergency services

On the motorway, go to the nearest call point to notify the emergency services. Be precise and factual: the place of the accident, the number of vehicles involved, possible injuries, and the direction of traffic.

In the event of an accident on the road, use the emergency call points on busy roads or a mobile phone to warn.


To the victims: do not take them out of their car, do not move them unless there is an imminent risk (fire, falling from the car, etc.). Leave their helmets to the bikers, never give food or drink before help arrives.

Comfort the injured by talking to them, cover them. Compress the wounds during heavy bleeding while waiting for help. You have received first aid training; put the unconscious victim in the safety position.

Report the accident

Any accident involves completing a report, even if the other driver flees or refuses to complete and sign this document. Use the form provided by your insurer, filling it out carefully. You can also report your car accident to your insurer via the e-report auto application, which can be downloaded free of charge if there are no injuries.

Take photos of the places, the vehicles involved, and the identity of any witnesses are additional information to be sent to your insurer to help it assess liability. Notify your insurer within 5 days of the accident, even if your vehicle has not suffered any damage.

Insurance compensation

The driver’s insurer compensates him even if he is not responsible for the accident. The driver’s insurer will then turn against the opposing insurer if the opposing driver is responsible. The damage covered will of course be determined according to the insurance taken out. Concretely with third party insurance, the insurer compensates the material damage and bodily injury caused by your car to others. For your bodily injury to be compensated, you must have a driver’s bodily accident cover. Choose the auto guarantees that suit you according to your vehicle and your needs.

What about the damage to the car

A moment of inattention, fatigue and you have damaged your vehicle on your own. There is only one solution to be compensated after having declared your accident to your insurer: to have taken out comprehensive insurance. It is also called an accident damage guarantee. It is the same if you have an accident with a wild animal.

With damaged guard rail:

You were in a single-car accident and, besides, damaged a guardrail on the highway or a double lane. Should you use your insurance or not? If the accident is serious, the police will intervene and the damage will be mentioned.

You must complete the report specifying the damage to public property: guardrail, speed cameras, etc. Are your third party insured? You will not be entitled to any reimbursement for your car, but your insurer will pay for the repairs.

Did you “forget” to report the accident? The surveillance of highways, many double lanes, even in town is a reality. Any motorist can be found and in this case, your insurance may refuse to intervene if the period has been exceeded.

Determining fault

Insurers determine who is responsible for the accident based on the data communicated to them by their clients, in particular through the accident report. Shared responsibility is also possible.

If you are not responsible for your damage, you will be compensated by a third party auto insurance. It will be either your liability insurer or that of the opposing party who will compensate you.

If you are responsible for the damage to your car or your bodily injury, you will not be compensated by the auto third party insurance. If you want protection, you can take out additional insurance, such as comprehensive insurance for your car or driver’s insurance.

You do not have to have the damage repaired to your vehicle to be compensated. You freely dispose of the compensation due which can never differ depending on the use you make of it.

Insurance provided repair facility

Either your insurer tells you which garage you can go to for the repair, or you choose one yourself. Most insurers have a network of garages. Some insurers offer advantages such as the provision of a replacement car free of charge if you decide to have your car repaired by a garage that is part of this network. Besides, other insurers automatically include in the insurance contract the provision of a replacement car free of charge. A garage affiliated with the network sends the invoice for the repair directly to the insurer. This is the third-party payment system that enables more efficient management of claims settlement.

If the garage you choose is not part of your insurer’s garage network, you will receive money from your insurer to pay for the repair at the garage.

Appointment of an expert

Your car liability insurance will generally appoint an expert to assess the damage. It sometimes happens that the various parties cannot agree on the amount of damage. Another expert will then come into action. The dispute is settled by the possible legal protection insurer.

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