There are certain steps you may want to take when you get into a car accident to help make sure everyone is safe, follow the law and get the insurance claim process started.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), if you were in a car accident, whether you were responsible for the accident or not, the following steps may help guide you through important decisions you need to make.
STEP 1: Check For Injuries Yourself
Call 911 if you’re injured or ask someone else to do so. Try not to move if you’re seriously injured, and wait for emergency personnel.
Step 2: Check Your Passengers’ Well-being
If it doesn’t hurt you too much to move, check your car for other passengers. If someone is injured, contact emergency services on the phone or ask a bystander to call for assistance.
STEP 3: Get To Security
Move to the side of the road or sidewalk if you’re able to. If your car is safe to drive and causes a hazard, pull it to the side of the road where it is. Leave it where it is, otherwise, and get yourself to safety.
Phase 4: 911 Call
If an accident is called a minor fender-bender or a major collision, it is necessary to call the police, and it is legally required in some states. An accident report will be filled out by the responding officers and the scene reported. According to III, if the police can’t come to the scene of the crash, you can go to the nearest police station and fill out a report yourself. They can ask for a copy of the police report to help with the claims process when you file a claim with your insurer.
STEP 5: Wait For Assistance
Switch your engine off, turn your warning lights on, and use your emergency car kit’s road flares to warn other vehicles to slow down.
STEP 6: Knowledge Exchange
Exchange contact and insurance details with the other driver after making sure you and any passengers are uninjured. According to III, after an accident, here is the most relevant details drivers can exchange:
- Complete name and contact details
- Contract number and insurance provider
- Driver’s license and number of license plates
- Vehicle type, color and model
- Place of accident
The III advises that when talking through the details with the other driver, you stop arguing blame. The adjuster investigating your claim will decide who is at fault when you file an insurance claim, based on an analysis of the damaged vehicles/property, evidence given by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documents, such as the police report or scene photos.
STEP 7: The Accident’s Document
The III suggests taking the following precautions in order to better protect yourself:
Pinpoint the police
When the police arrive, all responding officers must have their name and badge number.
Receive a copy
Ask the police officers present where a copy of the accident report can be accessed. When you make a car insurance claim, your insurer can ask for a copy of the report.
Trace the accident thoroughly by taking pictures from various angles of your vehicle, displaying the harm done to both vehicles. It may also be a smart idea to take photos of the licence plate of the other driver. During the claim process, you will be able to exchange pictures with your insurer to help support your claim.
Discuss with witnesses
Take their names and their contact details if there were any witnesses to the crash, as well.
You should keep this accident report page in your car to help keep all of this paperwork in order.
STEP 8: Alert Your Insurer And Start The Process Of Claims
While you’re at the scene, you may want to contact your insurance company. That way, during the claim process, they will tell you exactly what they will use to process your claim and what to expect.
An accident can leave even the most experienced driver frazzled, but it can help shield you from needless worries by following these steps. That way, to get your car fixed as smoothly and as quickly as possible, you can concentrate on dealing with your insurance provider.