Experiencing an auto accident is scary, with even the most prepared individuals entering a state of uncertainty. The choices you make during the moments following the collision are important, not just for the safety of everyone involved but also for what comes later.
Understanding what to do immediately following an auto accident can help make the situation less stressful.
Stay calm and focus on safety
The initial shock of an accident often causes panic, but unfortunately, accidents aren’t uncommon. In 2019, there were 6.7 million car accidents. After an accident, take deep breaths and remain calm. Always check for the safety of everyone involved. If anyone seems injured, dial 911 immediately.
Move vehicles if necessary
If vehicles are causing a traffic hazard and are operable, move them to a safer spot such as a shoulder or parking lot. If the vehicle is immovable, activating the hazard lights warns other approaching drivers.
Contact the authorities
Always alert the police to the scene of an accident, even if it appears minor. Their report provides an impartial account of the incident, which is useful when dealing with insurance matters.
Exchange and collect information
You should gather details from all involved parties. This includes names, contact information, insurance data, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions. This info is fundamental for later insurance dealings.
Photos can be a powerful tool in such situations. Capture images of damages, any injuries, the scene’s layout and any proximate landmarks or signs. This visual record can be invaluable during insurance claims or discussions.
Reach out to your insurance provider
It is prudent to notify the insurance company about the accident swiftly. They will guide the next actions, including claim initiation.
Avoid discussions about fault
Refrain from discussing or admitting fault with the other party. Responsibility assessments typically come from insurance adjusters or, occasionally, law enforcement officers.
Secure witness accounts
If any bystanders witnessed the accident, it is beneficial to collect their contact details. Their perspective can give a more comprehensive understanding of the event’s sequence.
An auto accident, while daunting, becomes more manageable when armed with the right knowledge. This can help ensure everyone is safe and that dealing with insurance later is a simpler process.