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Getting into a fender bender can be one of the most shocking and stress inducing things you can go through. Not only do you have to worry about whether or not you and the other passengers are okay, but you also have to assess the damage done to your automobile. When your adrenaline is pumping at full speed, following proper protocol after a car accident can be rather tricky.

Here’s a checklist to keep you on track:

Move your car to the side of the road. Of course, you can only do this if you’re capable, and if your car is well enough intact. It’s a safety hazard to leave your car in the middle of the road while you deal with the aftermath of the accident, so whenever possible, move it out of the way of oncoming traffic.

Call the police. No matter how big or small your accident is, you will need to call the police and file a report. Some seemingly small accidents can actually result in some major damages (to you and/or your car), and if you don’t have a police report then you’re missing your best source of documented evidence of the accident. Call the police without a moment’s hesitation.

Gather information. There might be some confusion over whose fault the accident is, but that doesn’t matter. You need to get the driver’s name and contact information, insurance policy company and number, and identifying information for the car (make, model, year, color, tag number, etc.).

Take pictures. Not only do you need to take plenty pictures of both cars, but you also need to take ample pictures of the scene of the accident, so that you have plenty of visual evidence to explain how and where the accident happened. When photographing the automobiles, be sure to take both up close and distant photos—enough to provide a very clear image of how severe the damage is, and in relation to the car’s size.

Interview witnesses. In the case of auto accidents on busy roads, it’s not unusual for people who witnessed the accident to gather around and provide their testimonial of what they saw. Speak with witnesses to get their names and contact information, and also to get a better perspective of what happened in the accident.

File a report. Be as thorough as possible when reporting your accident to the police. Don’t leave even the smallest detail out. And if you notice even the slightest ache or pain, make sure it is in the police report. You may be fine now, but need to seek medical attention later (when you wake up the following morning with a stiff neck, for example).

If your auto body needs some TLC then it’s likely you will need to spend some time exploring your collision repair shop options. To avoid headaches and unnecessary financial strain, put that important work only in the hands of trusted professionals like those at Carmona’s Collision Repair in Fullerton, Ca.  We are here to help you.

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