What to Do When You Get Into a Car Accident
No one wants to get into a car accident. But with the number of motorists clogging the roads, it’s bound to happen sometimes. In fact, in the U.S. alone, around 12 million vehicles are involved in crashes.
You can take measures to stay safe while driving, but sometimes accidents are unavoidable. Know what to do before a crash happens so that you can keep yourself safe and your vehicle protected.
Step 1: Check Yourself
Adrenaline can kick in after an accident, so it’s important to check yourself over for any injuries, as you might not be able to feel them. If you have passengers in the car, try to check on their wellbeing too.
If anyone is hurt, you can request an ambulance come to the scene when you call 911.
Step 2: Call the Police
Whether you’re in a minor fender bender or a serious collision, it’s important to call the police. In some states, it’s actually required by law. Massachusetts, for example, requires a report for any accident that results in injury or more than $1,000 in property damage.
When police arrive at the scene, they can block off the area around the crash, which will protect you and other drivers. They will also expedite the exchange of insurance information between all parties involved.
Officers will complete a crash report, which you can hand over to your insurance agency. This document is crucial if the other driver is found at fault for the accident — for instance, if they ran a stop sign, were texting while driving, etc.
Step 3: Move Your Vehicle
If your car is in the middle of the roadway and able to move, pull it off to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety, such as a nearby sidewalk.
Do not move your vehicle to another location, even if the other driver suggests or agrees to it. This act could be considered leaving the scene of the accident, which can result in a significant fine from police.
Step 4: Talk to the Other Driver
Whether police have arrived yet or not, it’s time to talk to the other driver. You’ll need to exchange insurance and contact information.
Be sure to gather details like:
Their full name, address and phone number
Their insurance company and policy number
Their driver’s license and license plate numbers
The make, model and color of their vehicle
The location of the accident
Stay away from discussing fault or who caused the accident with the other driver -- that’s something that your insurance agent will determine.
If the other driver becomes aggressive or belligerent, get back in your vehicle or step away until police arrive to facilitate the exchange.
Step 5: Get Your Car Repaired
If your car is driveable, you can take it to a trusted mechanic to get an inspection and estimate for repairs. If you can’t move your car, however, you’ll have to call a tow truck to transport it.
You’ll need an estimate from a professional mechanic to submit to your insurance. Once your insurance agent determines who’s at fault for the accident, they’ll either require the other driver to pay for the damage or ask that you pay your insurance deductible.
Some automotive shops, like Muncy Restoration Works, will work directly with your insurance agent, meaning you don’t have to worry about anything. All you have to do is pick up your vehicle once it’s fixed and running like new.