What to Do after a Car Accident
Car accidents are scary situations to be in. Even if you just get into a fender bender, they can cause a lot of anxiety and fear – immediate worry for your safety and that of anyone else involved, long-term stress about fixing or replacing your car and anything else that might have been damaged. There’s a lot that happens after an accident, and it can be tough to remember what you need to do in such a high-stress situation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Get to Safety
Check yourself for injuries and check on anyone else involved. If the vehicles can be moved, get them off the road. Whether the accident is minor or not, you also need to call 911, turn on your hazard lights and turn off your vehicle. You can also check your vehicle for damages, but the most important thing is the safety of drivers, passengers and bystanders.
Here’s something people don’t always think about: adrenaline can sometimes cause people not to notice injuries, so remember to double-check yourself once things calm down.
- Document the Accident
Start a record of what happened. Take photographs of all the vehicles and damage and write down everything you remember about driving conditions, what traffic was like and the crash itself. You can do all of this with a smartphone, which has the added bonus of keeping all your records in one place. Insurance companies often include a place to upload your photos when you file a claim. It’s important to have all this information on hand so your insurance provider has all the details when they review your claim.
- Exchange Information
When you take your photos, make sure you include shots of any other vehicles involved, as well as shots of the other driver or drivers’ license plates. You may also find it easier to take photos of driver’s licenses, insurance information and registration too, rather than write it down. Remember, even though an accident can be very emotional, you’re just exchanging information. It’s up to the insurance companies to decide blame and coverage, not the drivers. Just keep your cool and make sure you get all the information you need (like the other driver’s name, address and relation to the car) and give them your information in return.
- File a Claim
Whether you’re at fault or not, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company. Your insurance card should have their contact information, and many providers offer app and web-based claim filing options too. Insurance providers are there to help you with the financial aftermath of an accident. They can help you organize reimbursement for damages, pay for a rental vehicle and cover other vehicles involved if necessary. It all depends on your coverage. While you’re at it, you may also be able to contact an auto accident attorney if you or a loved one were injured and you believe someone else to be at fault.
If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to remain calm. Keeping these steps in mind and learning more about your insurance coverage and other options before you experience an accident can be a good way to help you keep your cool.