No matter what the situation is, whose fault it was, or how damaged your car is, any accident is an experience that is hard to forget. It can be scary or even overwhelming, and in times like that, you might find yourself at a loss for what your next step should be. What are the steps you should take when involved in a car accident?
If you feel lost or frightened, do not worry. There are things you can do to help the situation, and yourself, in the wake of an accident. But what are these steps, and how do you do them?
1. Move to a Safe Area (If Possible) & Check On Your Passengers and the Other Car You should, of course, check on yourself and the others in your car first. If you are all unharmed or at least only suffering from minor injuries, check on the other car. Injured drivers or passengers may need paramedics, and if you need to make a 911 call, this is information you will need to give the dispatcher.
Even if the symptoms or injuries seem minor, this is still vital information. Any potential injury should be told to the paramedics, so they can be sure to thoroughly check anyone involved.
2. Call 911/The Police If there are injuries, call 911. They will need to know about any personal damage in order to be prepared when they arrive on the scene, and the police will need to know the approximate area of the accident and where you are currently located. A police report can be an invaluable resource in the aftermath of the accident, particularly when you need to deal with your insurance company and potentially the other driver. If anyone is at fault, the police can help objectively determine this information.
If the police cannot arrive to the scene, which is a possibility if there are no injuries, then you can also file an accident report through the DMV in your state.
3. Gather Information You will need to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Some of the information you will need to gather for your accident report and to file your insurance claim are:
- Names of the driver and passengers involved in the accident
- License plate
- Their insurance information
- The model and make of all vehicles involved
- Contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Name and badge number of responding police officers, if applicable
- Location of the accident and where the damage is on your car
4. Take Photographs If you are able, use your phone to take photographs of the accident scene. Take pictures of the collision site and where the damage is on all vehicles involved. These pictures will be very useful during the insurance claim process, and can potentially be helpful if any legal proceedings are required. The pictures will be proof of damage, so no one involved can exaggerate the accident.
5. File Your Insurance Claim As soon as you can after the accident, call your insurance company and file a claim. From there, the exact process will depend on your current company, but in most cases they will need all of the information you gathered at the scene, as well as pictures of the damage to both vehicles. From there, they will help you get your car repaired as quickly as possible, based on your coverage plan.
Conclusion Car accidents can be scary, but if you follow these steps, the aftermath of the accident will go far smoother than you think. From a simple bump to something more serious, this plan of action will help guide you through the tumultuous situation. Accidents happen, and there are professionals – from insurance companies to police officers to attorneys, if the need arises –that can help you get through the trying aftermath. Life will go on, and you will know how to navigate the aftermath with ease.
Published by Dawn Richard