A practical guide for such a situation.
The causes of a car accident can be multiple. Each story is unique, each accident has its peculiarities, sometimes at fault, sometimes victim, sometimes it is very serious, and sometimes it is just more fear than pain.
However, in any accident, there is only one right way to approach things and deal with such a crisis situation.
Here are a few tips on what to do in this case
1. Calm yourself
This advice may seem silly, but the first thing of all one should do after a car accident is getting their head straight, calm their nerves, and try to deal smartly with this bad situation
2. Check for injuries and call 911
Immediately after the car accident, you should check if anyone is injured. If someone actually is, you need to call 911 so that you’ll get the police and an ambulance on the scene, this way you will get assistance and also an official report for your insurance company.
An important point that needs to be stressed: if you have a feeling the incident wasn’t very bad and the people are cooperative or even nice, you should still call 911. If the police cannot come to the accident’s scene, you can reach to the nearest police station and complete a report there: your insurer might need this document at some point.
3. Adopt the right posture
Pull your vehicle off the road if necessary, make sure the engine is off and use the road flares or reflective emergency triangles to warn the other cars.
4. Restrict conversation with the other party to a minimum
Try to limit the discussion about the accident, and especially you should not admit any liability or fault as well as you shouldn’t blame anyone. Keep the conversation strictly technical with the other party and keep the details about the accidents for the police, your insurance representative, and the medical professionals.
5. Exchange information and document the accident
Depending on state laws, the information that you’re expected to give is variable. You will generally need to provide your name and your insurance information to any other drivers involved.
Here is an exhaustive list of the information drivers should exchange after an accident:
- Full name and contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Type, color, and model of vehicle
- Location of accident
And here is the information you should try to record:
- Witness contact information
- Photos of any damage
- Police report number
- Police officer’s name and telephone number
- Personal notes on what happened during the accident
Make a small explanatory diagram with clear notes or use “*WreckCheck”, a free app by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
6. Contact the insurer and start the claims process
Last but not least, you need to give a call to your agent or insurance company’s emergency claims number as soon as possible. Preferably from the accident scene: this way it might be even more useful since the police officer can transmit accurate information and details while you are probably upset by what happened. Also, your insurer can then ask you for the exact information they will need to help you settle the car accident claim.