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Ultimate Car Accident Checklist

woman talks on her cellular phone next to a minor car accident scene

Every day it seems like there are more and more people out there on the road. And the stats back that up: The Portland metropolitan area is one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation. With all those extra people and all those extra vehicles jockeying for position on our highways and byways, the chances are increasing that you or a loved one will be involved in a car accident.

Of course, that’s no reason to worry too much. Modern vehicles are built and sold with an emphasis on driver and passenger safety. In fact, most new vehicles come equipped with standard safety features that just a generation or two ago were considered luxuries:

  • Front and side airbags
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Forward collision warning systems
  • Automatic braking
  • Rearview cameras
  • Traction control
  • Electronic stability control
  • Active head restraints
  • Lane-departure warning system
  • Back-up assist

The list goes on and on. Even the exteriors of modern vehicles are designed with materials and crumple zones to absorb the impact of a collision, thus protecting you and the occupants of the car.

These modern features and the ones listed above are the reason traffic fatalities have declined over the years. Increased use of safety belts is another. Both of those factors help explain why so many accidents that used to cause death and/or physical trauma are now usually nothing worse than a fender bender and a mild case of whiplash.

At McCollum Auto Body, we know how important it is to return your vehicle to pre-loss condition after you’ve been in an accident. We’ve been in the business of repairing vehicles and returning their safety features back to pre-loss condition for almost four decades now.

Inevitably, our customers are most concerned about the continuing reliability of the safety features of their vehicles. That’s why our expert collision repair specialists typically hear one or both of the following questions from concerned vehicle owners:

  1. Where should I take my car after an accident?
  2. Will my car be returned to its pre-loss condition?


  1. McCollum, of course!
  2. Absolutely. We guarantee it.

McCollum Auto Body

Highest quality repair promise

McCollum Auto Body guarantees that your vehicle will be returned to its pre-loss condition.

Expertise, safety and efficiency

Our technicians undergo rigorous and continual training to stay on top of the latest technologies and manufacturers’ recommendations.

Outstanding customer service

We want to have you as a customer for life. So we guarantee to make it right. We truly believe that our work is not done until the customer is 100% satisfied.

No hassle fully transferable warranty

We guarantee our work for the life of the vehicle — even after you no longer own it.

With four convenient locations to serve you, McCollum Auto Body is your one-stop shop for all collision repair work. Family owned and operated since 1980, we’re the region’s best and most advanced auto body repair shop.

McCollum Auto Body works hard to make vehicle repairs easy for you — with exceptional quality, unparalleled customer service, free loaner vehicles and lifetime warranties.

McCollum Auto Body — that “Big Blue M” — is your trusted partner for all collision and mechanical repair work.

Car Accident Checklist

If you’ve been in a car accident, we hope the only damage was to the vehicle. If so, then the safety systems and structural design of the car did their jobs, which protected you and your occupants from injury.

But now what? The steps to take after a car accident include several procedures to help ensure that you do right by yourself, your vehicle, and, of course, the law.

After making sure that there are no injuries — or, if there are injuries, that the injured are being taken care of by police or emergency responders — follow these steps to begin the process of vehicle recovery.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with your auto insurance policy and with the steps that your insurance company recommends in the event of an accident.

If you’ve been in an accident, several questions will likely come to mind, including:

  1. What should I do after a car accident?
  2. What details do I need in a car accident?
  3. What information should I get in a car accident?
  4. Who should I call after an accident?
  5. What should I do at the scene of an accident?
  6. Do I need a police report after an accident?
  7. Do I have to report an accident to my insurance company?

We’ve compiled a car accident checklist — a list of things you should do after a car accident.

Please note: This is not a comprehensive list — just a collection of the most common things that drivers are expected to do in the event of a vehicle collision.

What To Do After A Car Accident

  1. Move the vehicles out of travel lanes, if possible — and if you can do so safely. Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights.
  2. Locate your documents. Make sure you have proof of insurance card, your driver’s license, and registration. Exchange this information with every driver involved in the accident.
  3. Call the police so they can document the accident. You can always file a police report later but it’s best to get the ball rolling immediately while the details of the accident are still fresh in your mind.
  4. Contact your auto insurance company.
  5. Photograph any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved.
  6. Take notes (using a pen and paper, if available, or an app on your phone) of accident details, including information on the other drivers involved and witnesses, if there are any.
  7. Do not admit fault. Let the insurance companies haggle over that.
  8. Have your vehicle towed from the accident scene. McCollum offers towing services, by the way.

Car accidents are incredibly stressful. The list above should help you handle the most basic steps. Notice that some of the items on the list refer to what not to do after a car accident.

Where To Take Your Car After An Accident

Remember, Oregon law allows vehicle owners to choose where their vehicle is repaired. Check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the McCollum Auto Body website for some more answers to common questions about vehicle collision repair, including deductibles and vehicles determined to be a “total loss.”

McCollum Auto Body partners with most insurance carriers, and we’ll get right to work on returning your vehicle to its pre-loss condition. We also provide loaners and rental assistance for those who need transportation while their car is in the shop.

We want to make the process as easy as possible for you. That’s why we strive to be the best in auto body repair: Convenient, with quick turnaround times, and expertise that sets the industry standard.

Our collision repair techs use top-of-the-line scanners and state-of-the-art framing systems to return your vehicle to pre-loss condition and according to OEM specifications. We’re also experts in painting, refinishing, and reassembly. You’ll never know your car was in an accident!

Plus, as a final perk to our valued customers, McCollum Auto Body provides detail for life on the vehicles we repair, which includes a complimentary car wash and vacuum up to four times a year. (Ask us for details!)

Contact McCollum Auto Body today.

In the meantime, be careful out there!