Most of us are fortunate that we’ve rarely, if ever, been involved in an accident. However, even the most careful drivers can be involved in an auto accident. So here are some tips to share on what you should do – and not do – to handle this traumatic situation and ensure a smooth claims process if they do have an accident.
- Find out if there are injuries. A person’s medical situation is far more important than vehicle damage or who’s responsible for the accident.
- Remain calm. Getting upset can make a bad situation worse. Keep your composure and remain polite even if the other driver does not.
- Call 911 even if it’s a minor accident. Notify authorities of any injuries so they can dispatch medical assistance an so the police can respond and write a report.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver. This also includes exchanging insurance information.
- Obtain contact information for any witnesses. They can be crucial in the insurance company’s investigation.
- Take pictures. Just about every phone has a camera. Use it! Take pictures of the other vehicle involved, including the license plate.
- Call your insurance agent. Report the accident as soon as possible to your insurance agent so a claim can be initiated.
- Move someone who is injured. This could result in further injury. Only move a person who may be in imminent danger.
- Place yourself in danger. If the accident occurred on a busy highway or interstate, stay in your vehicle and out of the traffic lanes.
- Move your vehicle unless it impedes traffic or presents a hazard. Preserving the evidence of the accident scene can be crucial. If you have emergency triangles or flares, use them.
- Leave the scene, even if it’s a minor accident and the other driver(s) says they’re not injured. If you leave the scene, you might be accused of committing a hit and run. Wait for the police to arrive.
- Accept blame for the accident. Even if you think the accident may be your fault, don’t say this to anyone. You may not know what the other driver did to case or contribute to the accident. Only give a full description of the accident to the police.
Being involved in an auto accident is an upsetting and traumatic experience. By following these tips, you can reduce the stress involved and handle the situation in the right way.