Being in a car accident can leave you scared and scattered – not to mention injured in some cases. Before a car accident occurs, it's important to brush up on post-accident procedures ahead of time so you will know what to do if the situation presents itself. Here are some steps to take if you are ever involved in a collision.
Move to a safe area: If it is safe to do so, and you are not seriously injured, move your car to a safe area (the side of the road, into a driveway, close to or onto a median). If moving your car is not possible, turn on your hazards in order to warn other drivers of what is happening.
Stop Car and Get Out: Stop your car, turn off the engine and set the hand break. Take a moment to catch your breath. Then, after checking to make sure roads are clear, get out. Check on others involved in both your car and others – passengers, drivers and pedestrians – to ensure no one is hurt. If anyone is injured, call 911. Even the slightest symptom of injury should be checked out by a healthcare professional, so don't assume minor injuries aren't serious.
Call Police: Whether the collision you are in is serious or minor, the police should always be called. Police will be able to file an accident report, which can prove very important when dealing with the car insurance companies of you and other drivers. It's important to cooperate, but also don't admit fault or blame others at the scene; instead, let police objectively judge events and determine who, if anyone, is at fault.
Exchange Information: Whenever you are involved in a crash, whether serious or minor, it is important to exchange your informationwith other drivers involved. Here's what you should exchange:
- driver and passenger names
- license plate numbers
- insurance information
- makes and models of all vehicles involved
- contact information of eyewitnesses
- location of accident
- name and badge number of responding police officers
Document Scene: Smartphones may not be safe to use while driving, but they are excellent for documenting the accident scene and vehicle damage via their cameras. Many insurance companies even have apps that allow you to upload crash photos when filing an insurance claim.
File Insurance Claim: Contact person insurance company. They will be able to obtain all of the information required in order to steer you in the right direction for car repairs and more.
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