Being involved in a vehicle crash is a stressful experience. Whatever the circumstances, it is key to keep a level head. There are some steps that you must follow to ensure that all relevant information is recorded; it will make insurance proceedings (if necessary) much easier. There are six steps to follow immediately after a crash, along with some useful collision reporting tips for the days following:

Step One – Contact

  • If anyone is injured, all 911.
  • Move the vehicles off the road if it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid discussing who is at fault for the crash.
  • Contact any interested parties (broker, dispatcher) to notify them of the crash. This will allow them to notify the customer of any possible delays, or to arrange a replacement truck or driver (if necessary).

Step Two – Collect

Collect all the details, which is key if you are talking to the police. Record the following for all the vehicles and drivers involved in the crash:

  • Driver’s name, drivers license number, providence/state and contact information.
  • License plate(s) of vehicle(s) involved.
  • Year, make and model of vehicle(s) involved.
  • Insurance details.

Step Three – Witnesses

See if there were any witnesses. Record their names, contact information and get statements from them.

Step Four – Notes

Describe the crash scene and write down the answers to the following questions:

  • What was the date and time of the collision?
  • What were the weather conditions at the time?
  • What was the location?
  • What direction were all vehicles involved in the crash travelling?
  • Where was your vehicle and what lane were you using?
  • Where was the other vehicle?

Step Five – Photos

If possible, take photos of the scene using your smartphone. Its best to take these as soon as possible so the light and weather conditions are similar. Photograph the scene from multiple angles if it is possible for you to do this safely. Photograph both the truck and the trailer and ensure to include photos of the cargo if you were carrying a load at the time of the crash. If you are injured, take photos of your injuries as soon as possible as well.

Step Six – Diagram

A diagram is another useful tool that are included in most collision reports. It is a space for you to sketch out the scene; if you have taken photos of the scene, these can be your guide to make the sketch as accurate as possible. Here are some tips for sketching your diagram out:

  • Stick to the specific road or other area where the crash took place. No need to include side streets or other markers if they aren’t directly involved in the collision.
  • Make sure to note the number of lanes in the street.
  • Ensure to include any traffic lights or road signs.

Some Tips for the Days Following

Many regions/states have online collision reporting available. For example, in Washington State, if no law enforcement officer investigates the collision, then each driver must submit a report online or get collision report forms from their local police department, county sheriff’s office, or Washington State Patrol detachment. You can access the online form here: Washington State Online Motor Vehicle Collision Reporting. If a law enforcement officer does investigate the collisions, they will file the collision report, so you don’t need to. Most states have a time frame with which you must file a collision report – in most cases, 4 days is given.

Remember, the sooner you can file your insurance claim, the better. UWT has a dedicated claims department that is here to help you coordinate the resolution of the claim with all other parties and your insurance adjuster. Check out our website, Submit a Claim section to find out more!

What to do After You’ve Been in a Crash was last modified: by