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Should I Move My Car After an Accident?

January 2, 2024

Getting into a car accident can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming. In the confusion immediately following a car crash, you may not know what you should and should not do – including whether or not you should move your car. The answer depends on the specific circumstances and severity of the car accident.

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Move a Disabled Vehicle After a Minor Car Accident

In general, you should move your car after a minor accident occurs if your vehicle is blocking traffic. This can help prevent subsequent accidents caused by your vehicle obstructing a travel lane. If you aren’t injured and haven’t sustained a catastrophic injury in Denver, shift your disabled vehicle into neutral gear and push it to a safe location out of the flow of traffic, such as a designated safe zone or the shoulder of the road. You can wait for the police to arrive to help you, if necessary.

If your car is not blocking the flow of traffic or it is not clear who was at fault for the crash, it may be best not to move your vehicle. In these situations, it is better to leave the car where it is until the police arrive to conduct an investigation. The positions of both vehicles can help investigators determine who is at fault. Crash reconstruction experts will look at each vehicle’s respective position on the road and points of impact to recreate the accident.

Steps to Take Before You Move Your Car

If moving your car out of traffic appears to be the right choice based on the circumstances, there are a few steps you should take before you do so:

  • Check for injuries. Determine if you, your passengers or anyone else involved in the car accident has been injured. If so, render aid to the best of your ability, such as by calling for an ambulance. Seek medical attention right away for any injuries.
  • Call the police. In Colorado, the law requires drivers to notify law enforcement of a car accident immediately if it involves injuries, deaths or property damage. This means that almost all car accidents must be reported to the police.
  • Take photographs. Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash and the larger area where the car accident occurred. Be sure to capture the points of impact on both vehicles.

Once you have determined that it is safe to do so, slowly move your disabled vehicle to a safe area to wait for the police to arrive.

When You Should Not Move Your Vehicle After an Accident

There are circumstances where it may not be safe or feasible to move your car after an accident. In these situations, it is better to leave your vehicle where it is and wait for the police and a tow truck to arrive. Examples include:

  • If moving the car presents a safety risk to yourself or others.
  • If there is too much traffic on the road to safely move the car.
  • If the car accident is part of a crime scene, such as a drunk driving crash or vehicular homicide.
  • If the vehicle has severe property damage or appears totaled.
  • If someone is injured and moving the car could potentially exacerbate the injury.
  • If there is too much debris in the road to safely maneuver the vehicle away.
  • If fault for the car accident is not obvious and the scene should be preserved for an investigation.

If you need to leave your car after an accident, use road flares or warning triangles around the crash site, if available. This can help prevent a second or third collision. Whether or not you move your car after a crash, seek medical care for any injuries right away. Then, contact a car accident attorney in Denver to help you with the claims process.