In an Accident? What Should You Do?

January 22, 2010

According to a survey done by a British auto insurance firm, up to 45% of commercial van drivers don’t exchange the required information when they’re in an accident, whether it’s serious or not.

Here in the United States, the statistics may not be quite so scary, but a significant number of drivers have found themselves sitting behind the wheel after a minor bump, wondering, should I report this fender bender?

The answer, probably unsurprisingly is “yes.” Why? Because if you don’t you leave yourself open to a lawsuit, or other financial repercussions.

If you are in an accident, even if it’s minor, what should you do?

  1. Call the police, if you’re required to do so in your state.
  2. If your cars are driveable, move them out of the roadway.
  3. Exchange your information with the other driver. This should include your insurance company information and phone number, as well as your name, address, and phone number. Make sure you get the same information in return. Also, take note of the license plate number of the other car.
  4. If there are any witnesses, get their information, too.
  5. If you have a camera on your phone, or have an actual camera in your car, take pictures of the scene, and any damage.
  6. Be sure to call your insurance company.
  7. If the police are called, cooperate fully with them.

Whatever you do, remain calm. If the accident is just a fender-bender, yelling at the other driver is only going to make things worse; if it’s really more serious, you’ll need to remain as rational as possible. Finally, it’s important that you never claim to be at-fault, even if you think you are. Instead, let the police and insurance companies work out the details.

– Get evidence – Use your camera phone to take photos

– Ensure you notify the police and your own insurance company

Phil Moss, Commercial Vehicle Manager at Swinton van insurance said: “Sub-zero temperatures across the UK are resulting in icy driving conditions which always increase the risk of an accident. Vehicle collisions can be very traumatic and the stress of the situation means people fail to take down the required information. It’s important that you take down all the details of the other driver, especially both their mobile and home telephone numbers as well as their insurance company details.