7 Things to Do if You're in a Car Accident
Car accidents can happen quickly and remembering everything you should do after one can be stressful. Here are 7 steps to help prepare you, just in case you ever find yourself in one.
- Check for injuries.
Before you do anything else, make sure you and your passengers are okay. Check with the other party and make sure they are okay too. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately.
2. Follow the law about moving your car.
If local or state laws require you move your car and you can do it safely, you should move it immediately, according to James Aubrey Solomon who is a defensive driving expert at the National Safety Council. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s just good manners. It’s not polite to stay in someone’s way, even if that someone is another driver. If you can’t move your car, you should use your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
3. Contact Law Enforcement.
You can help the 911 dispatcher by giving as much detail as possible. Be prepared to tell him or her your exact location, including the highway mile marker or closest intersection. Let the dispatcher know about potential injuries, the number of cars involved and whether cars can get by on the roadway.
4. Exchange information with the other drivers involved.
Drivers involved should provide each other with their:
- Phone number
- Insurance company name
- Insurance policy number
- Name of the insured person and relationship to the driver
- Car year, make, model, that is involved in the accident
Resist the urge to apologize for the accident even if you think it might be your fault, or to keep it between you and the other parties. Law enforcement officers will determine the degree to which each driver may have contributed to the collision.
5. Record what happens.
While you’re on site, write down the location of the accident and how it happened. Take pictures of the damage done to all of the vehicles involved. Ask any witnesses for their contact information in case the drivers disagree about the events.
- File an accident report.
Even if law enforcement officers don’t respond to the accident, which sometimes happens if there are no injuries, download an accident report form from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website, fill it out and submit it.
- Notify your insurance provider.
Rather than relying upon the goodwill of the other drivers to ensure that damages are paid for, submit an insurance claim. Doing so can help you protect your finances in the long term and get your car fixed more quickly in the short term.
A few other tips:
Keep important items in your car, such as paper and a pencil for taking notes, a card that lists local law enforcement agency contact numbers and your medical allergies or conditions that first responders should know about.
These days, you may choose to keep much of this information in your cell phone under a file or note called “ICE,” which tells first responders where to look “In Case of Emergency.” You may also want to list several of your contacts, such as your spouse, parents or adult children under “ICE” in your phone’s contacts list. We also have available to you “The Buren Insurance Group” mobile App from the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store – for free— it will guide you through the steps to help you start the claims process.
Give our offices a call to ensure that you are adequately covered in the case of an accident. We are with you from What If to What Now, and want to make sure you have peace of mind that you’re protected if the unexpected happens.