What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident can be scary. Knowing what to do before you are involved in one can help you stay calm and take the right steps. Keep reading to learn the steps that you should take if you are involved in a car accident.
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The first thing you need to worry about is everyone’s safety. If you are able to, move the car off the road. Even if you just move it to a shoulder, it’s better than staying in the middle of traffic. If the accident is major and you or your car aren’t in good shape, leave the car where it is, flip on the hazards and lift your hood to alert other drivers of your presence.
Check on Everyone
If you are well enough to get out of the car and know you can do so safely, get out and check on everyone involved in the accident. Don’t move anyone, but just check on his or her wellbeing. Use this time to assess the situation to determine what you need next. If there are injuries, even minor ones, call 911 immediately. Even if you don’t need an ambulance, you’ll need a police report for the accident in order to file it with your insurance.
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If everyone is able to move around and talk, it’s time to start gathering information. You’ll need to exchange contact information as well as information about your vehicles and the accident. Some of the information you’ll exchange:
- Names, phone numbers, and addresses
- Vehicle information including license plate numbers, make and model of vehicles
- Insurance information
- Names and phone numbers of any witnesses
- You can swap information while you wait for the police to arrive, but don’t leave before you have the official police report.
Whether you moved the vehicles or not, take pictures at the scene. This will help you when you file the claim. You’ll need pictures of both vehicles and any evidence at the scene that may help put the pieces of the puzzle together. Since most people have smartphones today, it’s rather easy to gather photo evidence.
File the Claim
Once everyone is safe, you should file the claim. You can start it right from the scene if you are in good enough shape to do so. If not, just make sure you file it as soon as possible. Most insurance companies offer the option to file the claim online or even via their app. Check with your insurance agent to determine the preferred method to file the claim.
The most important thing to remember after an accident is to make sure that everyone is safe. Your insurance claim can wait. You need to know that everyone is alert and able to move around. If not, call the ambulance right away. Someone else can always stay at the scene and get the police report. Once you are able, though, filing the claim as soon as possible will help you get the financial help you need for your vehicle and potential medical bills from the accident.
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