Have you ever been involved in a car accident and felt so rattled that you forget what to do next? New and seasoned drivers alike can be so shaken after an auto accident that they fail to complete important steps. Unfortunately, forgoing one small step could result in an expensive and stressful lawsuit.
Even amidst heightened emotions, it’s important to try to remain calm, take your time, and get all the information needed to file an accurate accident claim.
Here are the most important steps to take after a car accident:
Take Safety Precautions
First and foremost, it’s important to get out of the way of traffic to avoid more accidents. If you are able, move your car to the side of road, turn on your hazard lights, and place a warning triangle or flares on the road if you have them.
Check for Injuries
Do a thorough assessment of yourself first and if there are no signs of injuries, get out of the car and make sure all other passengers and drivers involved are okay. If you see any type of injuries, call 911 immediately.
Call the Police
No matter how big or small the damages or injuries are, always call the police. There is a temptation to settle things without the police in a minor fender-bender, but do not fall for it. Having a police report will help establish liability, protect you from fraud, and keep everyone calm and collected.
It’s also important to never verbally admit fault, even if it is clear that you are at fault. Let the police handle the liability portion of the accident.
You’ll want to exchange the following information with the other driver:
- Telephone Number
- License Number
- License Plate
- Insurance Company
- Policy Number
If you do not have a pen/pencil and paper in your car, take photos and make notes in your phone.
Do not ever give out your social security number. Insurance companies to do not need that information to file a claim and you could become a victim of identity theft.
Describe the Scene
Make sure to take accurate notes regarding the time, location, description of accident, witnesses, state of the other driver and their car, and any other details you think you might forget. Take plenty of pictures of your car, the other driver’s car, and the entire scene.
Call Your Insurance
Regardless of fault, call your insurance company as quickly as possible. If the accident is the other driver’s fault, you have the option to call their insurance company and file a claim on your own, without even letting your own company know about the accident. However, it’s usually better to let your insurance company deal with the other driver’s insurance company rather than trying to do it on your own.
Being involved in a car accident is always frustrating, but if you have a comprehensive auto insurance plan it can help alleviate some of the stress. Once the accident has been reported and a claim has been filed, the rest is up to your insurance company. They will help you find the best auto mechanic to repair any damages, make sure any medical or auto charges are covered, and provide a rental car if you have the need.
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Contact JR Carnahan today! As a small privately owned insurance company, we are able to provide individualized insurance plans and personalized customer service to get you covered quickly!