An automobile accident is a scary and stressful situation regardless if it’s your fault or not. I talk to a lot of people after they’ve been in an accident and they are so shaken up that they have difficulty giving me the details of how the accident happened. I can’t blame them. I have never been in a car accident (knock on wood), but I do consider myself somewhat of a professional when it comes to what needs to be done following an accident. Here are five steps to help you get back on track.
1. Notify the police. Always contact the police so a report can be filed in case there is a dispute about liability. Most people would tell you not to move your car until the police arrive but there are situations when you might have to move your car to prevent further problems.
2. Take photos. Pretty much everyone carries a cell phone that can take photos, so snap a few for documentation of the damage to both your vehicle and the other vehicle or vehicles involved. If you don’t have a cell phone with a camera, I suggest keeping a disposable camera in your glove box for situations like this.
3. Exchange insurance information. This will help speed up the resolution of your claim. If the other party is a bit slow turning the claim into their carrier, you have the information to make that call and put the other carrier on notice.
4. Stay calm. I know, that’s easy for me to say right now, but it doesn’t do anyone any good to take your frustrations out on the driver of the other vehicle. Chances are they feel bad enough the way it is.
5. Notify your insurance carrier. The sooner you can let your carrier know about the accident the better. This helps us get in contact with the parties involved and get accurate information so a liability decision can be made.
Unfortunately, there are situations where the accident is going to result in injury and you won’t be able to take these steps. Don’t worry, we’ll get it sorted out – that’s what we’re here to do. Your safety should be the first concern.
I know its not usually something you want to relive but tell me about an experience you have had with an automobile accident. Would any of these tips have been helpful in your situation?
My roommate got in a car accident the other day and, as you mention to do above, she called the police, took photos, and exchanged information. She also made sure to go to the doctor immediately after the crash. Her insurance, however, is only good for a couple more days as she is switching her employment. Do you know whether or not changing her insurance can affect her situation?