What To Do After a Car Accident

Nov 11, 2014

An auto accident is among the definitions of “no fun.”

If you want to mitigate the terror, anxiety, and wreckage that a car crash may create, just follow these steps:

Before The Accident

Be prepared.

Stow a copy of your insurance in the glove compartment, along with pen and a pad. The side of a highway is no time to come up short on essential resources; you’ll want to capture the other driver’s details quickly to avoid losing the crucial information you need for insurance.

Make sure you have a camera to record evidence of the accident and its particulars. Don’t forget that you may have one in your cell phone, which you should also have to call 911 in an emergency, and to get roadside help.

Have a first aid kit and emergency supplies like blankets, water, and food. If you get in an accident on a single strand of the highway, or during inclement weather, it may be a long and dangerous time before help arrives.

Contact your insurance company and ask if they have forms that you can fill out showing you the information they require after an accident. That will make gathering data on the scene much easier.

Immediately After The Accident

Get your car off of the road so you can most safely deal with the situation. But if you cannot move your vehicle without causing harm, don’t. Call AAA or your insurance company who can provide you with a tow truck.

If you’re unscathed, take responsibility and make sure everyone else is okay. That means you, your passengers, the driver and passengers in the other vehicle, and any pedestrians or surrounding cars that may have been affected by your collision.

If you or anyone else is hurt, dial 911.

Try to remain calm. You’ll gain nothing if you’re an emotional basket case and just add to any bedlam at the scene.

More importantly, you’ll lose any opportunity to win your case. After a health check, make sure that you snap photos to use in your insurance claim, including the license plates of the other driver.

Don’t Forget This Tip

Whatever you say can be used against you in a court of law. So don’t admit to any wrongdoing. Never say that you’re sorry – even if you are – because it could implicate you as the at fault party.

What Information Do You Need To Gather?

  • Name of each person involved, including address, phone number, and email
  • The insurance carrier and policy numbers of each driver
  • Make, model and year of the cars involved
  • The license plate numbers
  • Remember to use the form that you received from the insurance company to speed your data collection.

What Photos Do You Need To Shoot?

  • Snap any damage done to your car
  • Record the location – use landmarks such as highway markers, road signs or details in the landscape.
  • Also take photos of the people involved, that way it will be very hard for a person to deny that he was there.

What To Get From The Police

If your accident brings the police in its wake, you’ll also want to get the following information from the officer at the scene.

  • Name,
  • Badge number,
  • Contact phone number,
  • And the number of the police report – ask for a copy, which can take two or more days to process.

Don’t Give Away Too Much Information!

Nobody at the scene needs your social security number, not even the police. So, don’t give it away.

Now Call Your Insurance Company

Right after the crash, you should start work on getting your file processed. Try calling your insurance carrier, because chances are an operator will answer no matter what time you’re stuck on the road. They can also help you get towed.

If you were at fault – your monthly insurance premiums are probably going to rise. Ask your insurance company how much it will be because the amount varies by company.

And make sure that you get the insurance information of the other driver and take what he tells you with a grain of salt. You never know who you’re dealing with. When people are caught in an accident, they’ll lie to your face just until they can slip away and leave the damage like a barbed wire around your neck.

Turn the tables and call their insurance company while you’ve got them standing there, so you know if they’re truly covered.