Involved in a Car Accident? What Next?

by CherrellT on November 20, 2011

If you’ve ever found yourself involved in a car accident, you know what a nerve-wracking, stressful experience it can be. In the aftermath, it’s easy to forget what to do and what not to do. Your auto insurance company will be able to handle many of the details for you but there are some things you’ll need to do immediately. Read on to learn what to following an accident.

Stay Composed

This is the number one tip and the hardest to adhere to. Collisions happen so quickly that it’s very difficult to remain calm in the wake of an accident. You can only give it your best effort. Keeping your wits about you will help you remember the steps that need to be taken, and will also keep others around you from losing their cool.

Check for Injuries

Check all passengers in your car and assess their injuries, if any. Do not move anyone with an apparent head, neck or back injury, or anyone who complains of these injuries, as there is a risk causing further damage. Rather than attempt to see to complex injuries, call 911 immediately. If no one in your vehicle is hurt, check on drivers and passengers in other vehicles.

Move Your Car

In the event of a minor fender bender, pull vehicles off to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot. If your car is immobile or the accident is more serious, leave the vehicles where they are and set up flares or warning triangles. In the case of more serious accidents, moving the vehicles is inadvisable as this will disrupt the scene, making it more difficult for accident investigators to do their job.

Call the Police

After you have checked on everyone and moved the vehicles involved, call the police. If you aren’t sure of your location or in which jurisdiction you’re in, call 911 who can then dispatch you to the proper authorities. While waiting for the police to arrive, exchange the following information with the other party involved:

– Name
– Address
– Phone Number
– Insurance company name and number
– Policy numbers
– Driver’s license number
– License plate number
– Make, model, year and color of vehicle

File a Report
In some instances, including private property accidents (including parking lots), police are unable to respond in a timely manner. In these cases, drive yourself to the local police department and file a report at the front desk. In some jurisdictions, police do not respond to accidents that do not involve injury or major property damage.

Don’t Over-share
No matter if you were at fault or just think you were, never offer this information to the other driver. It’s common, if you are at fault, to try to apologize and appease the other driver. This is never a good idea! Conversely, if the other driver is at fault, never accept compensation at the scene. Let your insurance agent and the police handle the details of fault.

Call Your Insurance Agent
Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Your agent will want the details you took down from the other driver and will want either the officer’s name or the number of the accident report. If you don’t have access to the report number when you call your insurance agent, the information can be provided at a later time. Your agent will then walk you through the filing of a claim and tell you what steps need to be taken.

There is no denying that car accidents are traumatic, no matter their severity. If you are involved in an accident, take a moment, catch your breath and follow the steps above to be sure that the event is handled in the proper manner.

Marcie McDonald is an insurance consultant who writes for cheapestcarinsurance.org.uk. She recommends checking here for a car insurance comparison; the site also lets you compare taxi insurance rates.

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