Important steps to take after an auto accident
Auto crashes usually happen unexpectedly and at any time. Estimates put the number of annual auto accidents in the United States at over 6 million. If you have been involved in an auto accident, you will naturally be feeling anxious and confused.
However, knowing what to do after being involved in one can help you stay calm and make everything much easier when it comes to dealing with your insurance company down the road. Here is are the exact steps you should take after an auto accident:
Check for Injuries and Risks
Safety should always be the top priority after an auto accident. You should assess your current safety status and condition and investigate the accident scene to find out whether anyone else involved requires urgent medical treatment. Quickly examine your surroundings for any signs of smoke or a presence of heavy traffic.
Call 911 and Move to a Safer Position
Once you have made sure that everyone around you is okay, move to a safer location such as the shoulder of the road or the sidewalk. If there are any injured persons, call 911, switch off your engine, and turn on the hazard lights. Make sure that you don’t leave the accident scene until emergency services have arrived.
Call the Police
You should always make it a point to contact the police whenever you are involved in an auto accident even if it was just a minor accident where nobody was injured. Depending on the state, you will be required to file an accident report with local law enforcement.
The responding officers will ask for your license, registration, insurance, and other kinds of information. Don’t forget to ask for the names, badge numbers, and contact details of the attending officers. You should also remember to ask for a final copy of the police accident report for your insurance claim.
Exchange Information with Other Parties Involved in the Crash
Collect the driver’s name, license information, license plate number, email address, phone number, and name of the other driver’s insurance company, and insurance policy number. It can be a good idea to take photos of some of this information; refer to tip #6 below.
It is also important to note down the relationship between the vehicle owner and driver if the driver is not the owner, along with the vehicle’s brand, model, and colour. If there are any witnesses present at the scene, collect their full names and contact information.
You should generally avoid signing any documents unless they are for the police or insurance agent.
Try to Stay Calm
Emotions may run high following an auto accident, but it is best to try and stay calm. You should avoid taking it upon yourself to determine which party is at fault. All you have to do is exchange all the necessary information with the other party and let the insurance companies and their abogado de accidente handle the rest.
Document the Scene
Take photos of the scene using your camera or smartphone. Take photos of all vehicles involved in the accident from different angles. Capture the damage inflicted on the vehicles, the absence or presence of skid marks, road hazards, and other relevant evidence.
It is also important to take photos of the license plate numbers of other vehicles involved in the accident along with the drivers’ license, registration, and insurance documents. This can be incredibly useful if you ever misplace your notes or wrote down inaccurate information.
Some insurance companies provide an app that lets you submit these photos as opposed to waiting for an adjuster to investigate the damage.
Record What Happened
Note down all the details you can recall about the accident. This includes the location, weather, road conditions, time of day, traffic signs, and any other relevant details. If you don’t have a pen at hand, you can dictate everything into your phone via the notes tool or send a voice-to-text memo to yourself. That way, you can be sure to preserve all the important details you may need later on when pursuing your compensation claim.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible, even while at the accident scene. Doing that will ensure that the claims process is started much sooner while the evidence is still fresh. It can also be a good idea to get in touch with a reputable lawyer for legal advice.
Reassess Your Condition
You may sustain some internal injuries in an auto accident but not realize it immediately. That’s why you need to get a full-body examination from a medical specialist. Getting the injuries documented will be critical to supporting your auto accident insurance claim.