What to do after a car accident
There are over 6 million car accidents in the United States each year. Luckily, the majority result in property damage only. According to carinsurance.com, the average American will be involved in three to four car crashes in their lifetime. Do you know what to do in case of an accident? Here are eleven steps to follow if you’re ever involved in a vehicle collision:
- Never leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.
- Determine if there are injuries. If so, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance.
- Move to a safe area if necessary. It’s best to leave the accident scene intact if possible. However, if the vehicles are impeding traffic or putting anyone in danger, move to the side of the road.
- Exchange information. This should include:
- Name, address and phone number of other drivers.
- Vehicle information including license plate number, make, model, year, and color.
- Insurance company name and policy information of the other drivers.
- Witness contact information.
- Do not admit responsibility. Let police, claim’s adjusters and attorneys determine who is at fault.
- Call the police. Even if there are no serious injuries, it’s a good idea to have police come to fill out a police report. You may need that report to file a claim with your insurance company. Get the officer’s name and badge number. Ask for a copy of the report.
- Take photos. Get pictures of the scene, the vehicles, and any visible injuries you may have sustained.
- Contact your insurance company. You should do this as soon as possible. Report the accident and find out what is covered. You may be covered for medical bills and a rental car if needed.
- Seek medical attention. Injuries sustained in car accidents don’t always present themselves right away. Go to the ER or make an appointment with your primary care physician if you have any injuries, lost consciousness or were even dazed. The smallest injury could cause lifelong problems.
- Stay organized. Keep accident related documents together. You may need to give this information to your claim’s adjuster or attorney. This should include:
- Claim number.
- Information gathered at the scene from witnesses and those involved in the accident.
- Any receipts for accident related expenses.
- Consult an attorney. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consults. Find out about your rights before settling with an insurance company.
An auto accident can be a traumatic experience. Following these steps will help give you peace of mind and assist in working effectively and efficiently with your insurance company to repair your vehicle and attend to any injuries sustained during the accident.