Accidents happen, even to the most cautious drivers. In fact, statistics show that more than five million auto accidents occur each year in the United States. Want to prepare yourself? Check out these eight steps you can take after an accident to make things safer, less stressful, and the claims process easier.
1. Stay calm
The most important thing to do just after an auto accident is to breathe. Take a moment to gather yourself, calm down and be certain you can think clearly. Remain at the scene of the accident unless instructed by a medical professional to be transported for immediate medical attention.
2. Check for injuries and call for help
Self assess. Move your limbs to feel if there are any broken bones and to assess your mobility. Then, check the status of your passengers. Call 911 if:
- A condition seems potentially life threatening
- It could become life threatening on the way to the hospital
- You could get delayed in traffic on the way to the hospital
- You could cause more harm if you try to move the injured party
3. Avoid blocking traffic
For minor accidents, move vehicles out of harm’s way to a safe location close by. This will keep all parties safer and reduce the risk of further damage.
4. Alert other drivers
Once your car is moved to a safe area, now it is time to make other drivers aware. Protect yourself and others by using warning signs. Turn on your hazard lights if accessible. Use flares or warning triangles to help other drivers to be cautious near the site of the accident.
5. Call the police
Call the police to request assistance at the scene. If police do not respond, consider filing an accident to help expedite the claims process.
6. Gather accident details
It is easy to be distracted after an auto accident, and forget important details. Gather and write down relevant information as soon as possible. Documentation captured at the scene could be helpful later on in the claims process. Collect the following information:
- Name and contact information of drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Driver’s licenses and license plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Make, model and color of vehicle(s)
- Contact info for any eyewitnesses
- Specific accident location
- Name and badge number of responding police officer
7. Take photos of the scene and damage
Follow these accident photography tips to capture the right images:
- Take photos from all sides of the vehicles and taking special note of damage
- Use a pen or hand as a point of reference in photos to show the scale of the damage
- Be sure to capture marks on the road or damage to the road and surrounding areas. This can potentially show the speed of the impact, give more information about how the accident happened, and show exactly where the impact occurred
- Take photos of any injuries
8. Contact your insurance agent
Get in touch with your insurance agent as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide:
- Your full nameand policy number
- The start and end dateof your policy
- Dateand time of the incident
- Names, addresses, and phone numbersof all drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Driver’s licenseand license plate numbers for all drivers
Accidents are impossible to predict. However, it is a good idea to be prepared, know what to do if one should occur and make sure you and your vehicle are protected. Call a Cole Harrison agent today and make sure that you have the coverage you and your family need.