Have you just been in a car accident? If so, you probably feel a little shaken up. Perhaps emotional or even guilty for your role in the accident. Take a minute to take a deep breath, make sure you’re okay, and then keep reading to find out what to do next.
Contact the Police
Once everyone is out of imminent danger, call 911 or your non-emergency line depending on the severity of the accident. Notify them of the location of the collision and any injuries that will require medical treatment. Stay on the line and follow the operator’s instructions until he or she instructs you to hang up.
You may feel tempted, but never decide not to report an accident. Reporting the accident is always the safest thing to do for both you and anyone else involved. Not reporting can lead to:
- not being able to find an auto body repair shop who will do the repairs without a police report due to state law in some areas
- not being able to file an insurance claim if the damages are worse than you thought
- not being protected if the other driver decides to sue you or bring charges for damage to property or people
- not having an accurate record of the accident for your insurance company later
Tell Your Insurance Agent
A quick call to your insurance agent is step two whenever feasible. This is important because your agent can provide you with clear instruction for the next steps and remind you what not to say and do to mitigate risk. They can also ask questions early when the details surrounding the accident are fresh in your memory, and you’re most likely to provide accurate responses.
Gather Information Early
Ask any other driver(s) involved in the accident for the name, phone number, and insurance information. Take photos of their insurance card if possible.
Jot down notes about the accident:
- What happened before the accident? Note red lights, other vehicles, which lane you were in, etc.
- What happened during the accident? Where was the impact? Where were the vehicles located prior to, during, and at rest following the accident?
- What vehicle damage is visible? Take photos if you can.
- Is anyone visibly hurt?
- Were there passengers in your vehicle or any of the other vehicles? Where were they sitting?
Assist the Officer with the Report
Answer any questions the law enforcement officer asks you about the accident and provide him or her with any documentation they request, like your license, registration card, insurance card, or contact information.
Take special care not to volunteer more information than has been asked of you or admit fault. Answer the questions factually and briefly.
Interact only with the police officer except to get insurance information; don’t chat with other drivers involved or share your perspective of what happened, who was at fault, or what caused the accident. Don’t blame others or accept blame.
Work With Your Agent to File a Claim
When you’re released from the scene by the police offer, simply contact your agent to get the claim filed.
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