There are many reasons why a traffic accident happens, recklessness of one of the parties, carelessness, natural causes or mechanical failures, to name a few. Therefore, given the possibility of their occurrence, it is best to be prepared. But what can you do if you have an accident? Call the police? Call the insurance company? Well, this is what you should do after a car accident. Pay close attention to what we will explain below.
When you are involved in a car accident, there are steps you must take to make sure everyone involved is safe, to comply with the law, and to start the insurance claim process.
According to the Insurance Information Institute or III, the steps below are a very useful guide in the event of a car accident, whether you were at fault or not.
This is what you should do after a car accident:
Step one: verify that you are not injured
If you are hurt, call 911 or ask someone else to do it. If you are seriously injured, try not to move and wait for emergency personnel.
Second step: check that the passengers are not injured
If you are not too injured to move, check how the other passengers in your car are doing. If someone is injured, call emergency services or ask a bystander for help.
Third step: get to safety and do the same with the passengers and the car
Try moving to the side of the road or to a sidewalk. If possible, do the same with the passengers. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where you are, move it to the side of the road. Otherwise, just leave it where it is and be safe.
Step Four: Call 911
Whether the accident is considered a minor hit or a serious collision, it is important to call the police. In fact, in some states it is required by law. The officers who come to the scene of the accident will fill out a report and document the scene. According to the Insurance Information Institute, if the police cannot go to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and fill out the report yourself. When you file a claim with your insurer, they may ask you for a copy of the police report to facilitate the claim process.
Step Five: Wait for Help to Arrive
Turn off the engine, turn on your hazard lights, and use the road flares from your emergency kit to warn other vehicles to slow down. Make sure you are not standing by the road. Get to a safe area.
Step six: exchange information with the others involved
After making sure that you and the passengers are not injured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. According to the Insurance Information Institute, this is the most important information drivers should exchange after an accident:
Full name and contact details
Insurer and policy number
Driving license and registration number
Vehicle type, color and model
The Insurance Information Institute recommends avoiding talking about fault when going over the facts with the other driver. When you file an insurance claim, the expert who reviews it will determine who is at fault, based on an inspection of the damaged vehicles / property, the information provided by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or the photographs of the place.
Step Seven: Document the Accident
As a precautionary measure, the following steps are recommended:
- Identify the officers: Once the police arrive, obtain the name and badge number of all the officers found in the proceeding.
- Obtain a copy of the report: Ask the police officers present where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Your insurer may ask for this document when you file a car insurance claim.
- Take photos: Document the accident well by taking photos of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage caused to both cars. It may also be a good idea to take photos of the other car’s license plate. You may be able to share the photos with your insurer during the claims process to support your information.
- Write down the names: Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved, including the passengers in the other vehicle.
- Talk to Witnesses: If there were witnesses to the accident, also write down their names and contact information.
Eighth step: notify your insurance company to start the claim process
It is helpful to call your insurance agent while you are on the scene. This way, they can tell you exactly what you will need to process your claim and what to expect throughout the process.
An accident can exhaust even the most experienced driver, but following the steps outlined above can help you avoid unnecessary worry. You can focus on working with your insurance company so that your vehicle is repaired as quickly and easily as possible.