Your car is at a standstill, your heart is racing, if you’ve just been in an accident, chances are you’re a little shook up. Take a deep breath. There are a few things to go over when you get into an accident, especially if another driver is involved.
First thing’s first, make sure that everyone involved is okay and try to get your car to a safe place, especially if you’re in danger of getting hit again. If you aren’t able to move your car, turn on your four-way blinkers/hazard lights. If someone is seriously hurt, your car isn’t drivable or if the damages exceed $1,000, then it’s time to call 911. The police will arrive shortly, and you can file a police report.
You can start getting information if the accident isn’t too serious or while you’re waiting for the police to arrive. Names and phone numbers are a nice start, but be sure to get any driver’s license numbers, addresses, insurance providers and policy numbers from anyone involved in the accident. Also get the name of the registered owners of the vehicles involved and their license plate numbers.
It also helps to get the names and information of any of the passengers or witnesses of the accident. This is in case you need an extra account of what happened in case the police or insurance need it.
Write down when and where the accident happened, road conditions, and maybe a quick diagram of the accident. This will help, since you might have to repeat this information several times, be it to a police officer, insurance agent, or lawyer. Also, be sure to snap some pictures if you have a camera, or camera equipped cell phone. Photo evidence does not lie, and is the best way to show someone exactly what happened.
Speaking of insurance, it’s important to decide your actions as soon as possible. The most hassle-free approach to getting repairs done is through insurance, after all, why else do you pay monthly for it? Call your insurance provider and ask them for advice on the situation. They can let you know what the best plan of action is regarding the repair of your vehicle. Your provider will help inform you of who is at fault, how much a repair will cost to you and how long your car will be out of commission, if it’s a complicated repair.
Sometimes the driver at fault may offer to foot the bill of the repair to avoid having to go through insurance. This could have some benefits as insurance rates are less likely to go up, but you are putting your cars repairs in the hands of stranger you just met.
Accidents can be a frustrating experience, but with these tips to keep you focused, you’ll remain confident and be ready to ride soon. Here’s a quick checklist to keep in your car for such an incident:
1. Make sure everyone is okay. Don’t try to move anyone who is seriously injured. If someone is injured, immediately call 911.
2. Turn on your hazard lights, and if possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road. Don’t worry about this affecting your insurance claim or police report.
3. Call your insurance provider to advise you through the process.
4. An insurance advisor should walk you through what information you need to gather. They will also help you understand what’s covered in your policy and arrange a tow truck if needed.
5. Make certain that you write down the names, phone numbers, insurance companies and policy numbers of the driver(s) and any passengers of the other vehicle(s) involved. Also include the licence plate number of the other car and the driver’s licence number, if possible.
6. Gather the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
7. Depending on the situation call the police. Remember: It’s best not to discuss who is at fault with the other driver. Allow the police or claims advisor to determine fault.
Do not leave the scene of an accident if there are injuries or damage to city or private property.