Smart on The Scene: A Step-by-Step Guide to Handling an Accident
In 2015, there was a huge increase in the number of death-related traffic accidents. A car accident will always leave you shaken and slightly confused, so it’s best to understand the proper steps of a car accident before one happens. Knowing what to do will leave you feeling less confused and it’ll help with the claims process too.
Before the Accident Ever Happens
You might think you know what’s covered under your car insurance policy, but chances are you don’t. Many people are concerned with having cheap, minimum coverage and saving money on their monthly bills. Read through your policy to ensure you know exactly what coverage you have and increase it if at all possible.
Keep your policy information in multiple places, such as your purse, wallet, and glove compartment. The glove compartment could be broken in the collision, so it’s best to have it in more than one location.
Call the Police and Check Injuries
The first step after the accident is to check everyone for injuries. For serious injuries, it’s important to call an ambulance before trying to move anyone. After the call to an ambulance, if it’s needed, a call to the police is important. Even if the other party claims to have a friend or family member with a body shop to fix your car, you’ll want to have a police report for your insurance company.
The police report is the official record of the accident; it’s required by the insurance company. If you don’t have the police called to the scene, you’ll need to head to the police station yourself to report the accident.
Move the Vehicles
If you can, remove the car from the middle of the road. The cars can be the cause for more accidents, sitting in the road blocking traffic. Move the car to the shoulder and wait for the police, or exchange information in a calm manner with the other party.
While exchanging information, make sure you take down the person’s name and contact information, like their address. If they don’t have their insurance information, contact their carrier immediately to ensure they have coverage. Take down the names of others in the vehicle too.
Information About the Accident
While waiting for the police or ambulance to show up on the scene, use your phone to record the location of the vehicles. Any injuries to the other driver or the passengers should be recorded if possible.
It’s helpful to take pictures of the streets surrounding the accident too. The location of stop signs and lights are important for the insurance company to understand what happened.
If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their names and contact information. They could help with your claim.
Never Admit Guilt or Apologize
Emotions are running high after an accident and you might tell the other driver you’re sorry without considering that the accident wasn’t your fault. When you apologize, you’re admitting guilt and could be held responsible for the costs associated with your vehicle as well as theirs and any injuries sustained.
Contact a Lawyer
After contacting your insurance company and dealing with medical issues associated with the accident, you’ll want to consult with an attorney. This is especially true if there have been serious injuries sustained as a result of the other driver. Lawyers specializing in car accidents will be able to give you advice on the steps to take in your claim.
After a car accident, it can be tough to remember all the steps to take. You’re shaken, confused, and possibly injured. It helps to understand the coverage of your policy. Call the police, an ambulance, and your insurance company while on the scene. In a few days, contact a lawyer to help advise you on the next steps in your case.
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