In the aftermath of a car accident, coping with any injuries, talking to the police, and thinking about car repairs, life can quickly seem pretty complicated. Combine all this with the scare of the crash itself and many of become incapable of making clear decisions. That's why it's a good idea to know beforehand how to deal with an auto accident.
Immediately after the accident there are certain things that you need to take of.
1. Check for any injuries
The first thing is to determine the extent of any injuries to yourself and your passengers. If the accident is a fender bender, emergency medical care might not be necessary. However, when in doubt, call an ambulance. Even if they don’t think they need help, if you disagree it’s okay to override them. They may thank you for it later.
2. Determine your location
If you aren’t familiar with the area, find the names of the cross streets nearest to you and let the dispatcher know this information to make it easier for help to find you.
3. Call the police
If your first phone call was to emergency care providers, your second call should be to the police. The police will advise you whether it's required to move the vehicles involved in the crash away from moving traffic. The investigating officer will take statements of the drivers and passengers involved and can help walk you through the process of getting the necessary information.
While You Wait
Once the neccesary calls are made and an ambulance and/or the police are on their way, you’ll have some time to kill. Make good use of this time by doing things to help facilitate everyone’s jobs.
4. Collect the other driver's information
It's always a good idea to collect as much information about the other car and driver as possible. Get the driver’s name, license number, and contact information. Make sure to exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved including the name and policy number. You should also note a description of the vehicle and driver.
5. Don’t admit fault
The insurance companies plaster this statement all over their documentation for a reason. Immediately after an accident, you may not be thinking clearly. You might assume that you are to blame, only to remember important details after you calm down. In general, it’s best not to discuss the accident with the other driver any more than necessary.
6. Gather detailed information
Think about what happened before, during, and after the accident occurred, so that you can give the officer that arrives a detailed explanation. It's a good idea to have a single-use camera in your car. After an accident, a set of pictures of both vehicles can protect you from a claim by the other party that the damage to their car was more extensive than you reported. In addition, the pictures can help you with your own insurance company in documenting the damage to your vehicle.
8. Look for witnesses
The sooner you can do this, the better as traffic tends to move pretty quickly. As you get out of the car, look around for anyone who is looking at you. Remember, the law mandates that witnesses stop and wait for the police with you, so if you see anyone looking, flag them down. If there is any confusion on who caused the accident, the testimony of the witnesses could help clear you from blame. Get names and phone numbers of witnesses. In addition, you should get the investigating officer's contact information for future reference.
9. Call your insurance company.
The sooner they know what happened, the sooner they can help you out. Most auto insurance policies will require you to inform your insurance company when you've been in an accident. It's also a good idea to inform the other driver's insurer as well. Then the insurance companies can begin to investigate the accident and determine which driver is at fault.
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