The 6 Most Important Actions After a Car Accident
While some vehicle mishaps are a result of careless or distracted driving, others are simply accidental. Either way, to avoid feeling unprepared and overwhelmed, consider these six steps to take following a car accident.
Remain at the Scene
If you’re involved in a major accident, don’t flee the area. If you hit and run and someone is hurt or, worse, killed, you could face some serious jail time. Even a fender bender warrants an exchange of insurance information and a potential police report. However, make sure you’re in a safe zone, away from oncoming traffic. If you can’t maneuver your way out, consider turning on your hazard lights to direct cars away from the scene.
Seek Medical Help
If you or another person is injured, call 911 and wait for medical personnel to reach your location. Avoid making the situation worse by moving anyone who is unconscious or experiencing severe pain. Unless the victim needs to be moved, in order to prevent further injury or potential death, be patient and wait for help to arrive.
Exchange Relevant Information
You’ll want to get the insurance information, name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, and license plate number from all involved. Speak with any witnesses and get their contact information as well. They can assist the investigation by providing the police with a separate account of what happened.
Wait for the Police to Arrive
Make sure you contact the police as soon as possible. Once they arrive, you can then begin the process of filing a police report. This statement will help authorities determine the cause of the accident and who was at fault. You’ll also want to make a note of the police report number, assisting officer’s name, and badge number, for future reference.
Speak With Your Insurance Company
Promptly notify your insurance company of the situation and explain what happened. Always tell the truth and don’t leave any important information out, even if you were to blame. If you’re caught lying or withholding information, you could be left without insurance and with out-of-pocket costs.
You’ll also need to examine your insurance company’s property damage valuation to see your potential coverage amount. Research replacement quotes and repair estimates and show them to your adjuster to ensure that the expenses don’t exceed what your insurance company is actually willing to cover.
Know How to Protect Yourself
To protect yourself and your vehicle, don’t forego filing a police report. Otherwise, the other driver involved could easily accuse you of being at fault. Additionally, taking photos of the property damage can give your adjuster a better look at how much insurance you’ll need to cover the repair costs.
If you were injured, you’ll want to keep a detailed report of all your medical expenses. This will come in handy if your insurance company decides to offer you an early settlement without taking into account how your injuries might be affecting your personal life and daily responsibilities. Proceed with caution and ensure you’re fully compensated before settling a claim.
By staying proactive after a car accident, you can avoid dealing with unnecessary inconveniences and expenses.
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