IF, THANKFULLY, NO ONE HAS BEEN INJURED:
Your first step should be to call your insurance agent. Make sure you have his cell phone number with you in the car.
NEVER, under any circumstances, volunteer that you may have been at fault. First of all, you may not be thinking clearly. Second, there may be more to the accident than you are aware of, in terms of damage or injuries.
Whatever you do, do not get into an argument with the other person. Simply ask them for their information and give yours to them. The attached form (in English -- see at end of page) will help you to remember all the details to exchange; keep a few copies in the car for emergency use.
If it is a very minor accident, and you wish to repair the damage on your own, you can discuss this with the other person involved. You may be able to come to an arrangement for fixing that specific dent; preferably, this should be in writing. As of right now, an accident will not cause your insurance cost to rise. However, there is legislation pending which would allow the insurers to increase your premiums if you have had an accident.
IF THERE ARE INJURIES, HEAVEN FORBID:
In this case, helping the injured, summoning an ambulance etc. is your first priority. Of course, the advice above about calling your agent, not admitting fault, and so forth applies here as well.
If there are even minor injuries, a police report is required, and you should not move your car unless specifically told to by the police. You may need to go to the police station later, to give your version of what happened. In Jerusalem, it is located near Ras el Amud.
If you suspect you may be hurt, then you MUST go first to the hospital. This is important, since otherwise you will be unable to get compensation from Bituach Leumi (national insurance) for any injury. Of course it is natural to feel a little shaky. However, if you feel any headache, pain in your upper back or neck, etc. go directly to the hospital and have yourself checked out.
Many people find that, even in the case of a "minor" injury, it is worth their while to hire a lawyer to guide the matter through the bureaucracy. Of course you should make sure you know in advance what his fees are, and it may pay to shop around a bit.
ONE LAST POINT:
If you do not believe the accident was in any way your fault, you have the option to sue the other driver's insurance company. This will keep the accident off your insurance record, as well as saving you from having to pay the deductible ("hishtatfut atzmeit"). However, it may take a month or two longer, and there is no guarantee that you will win in court.
As we say ("tfoo tfooo tfoo"), may you never know from it.
Last Updated November 14, 2005