You Just Had A Car Accident, Now What?
Car accidents, even just fender benders, are an unfortunate fact of life. When you’re in a car accident, you want to be prepared, whether or not you caused the collision. Preparation will help you protect your ability to make an auto insurance claim against an at-fault driver, and also protect you if another driver falsely blames you for the accident.
Here’s what to do in this stressful situation, including how to prepare to deal with first responders, injuries, other drivers and insurance companies. If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or Complete our online quote form today!
What To Do Immediately After a Collision
The first thing you should do, if possible, is pull your car over to a safe, well-lit place nearby, preferably a public one where others can see both you and the other driver. If your car may cause a road hazard, you’ll want to move it, even to a sidewalk. Stay calm and use emergency flashers to alert oncoming cars. If you can’t move your car, get yourself and any passengers you have to a safe distance away from the collision. However, you want to make sure you do not leave the scene.
Secure Kids, Pets, Elders and Disabled
If this is a fender bender or minor collision, don’t leave young children, pets, disabled adults or non-ambulatory elders in a hot, locked car after the accident. Don’t leave the engine off with them in a hot car while you deal with the accident details.
If children traveling with you during the crash are young enough to be in car seats, don’t remove them from the car seats after the accident. They may have injuries you can’t see, so let a first responder remove them from their car seats to assess them for injuries.
Make sure other children stay in the car when it’s safe, so they don’t get injured. Do the same for non-ambulatory elders or otherwise incapacitated people traveling with you, even if they are frightened or agitated.
Calling an Ambulance or Law Enforcement
After you and your vehicle are in a safe place, check to see if you or anyone in your vehicle at the time of the accident has injuries. Call fire and rescue or an ambulance if someone shows even minor harm from the accident. When you call 911, get someone nearby to give you the location of the accident if you don’t know exactly where you are.
Besides your name and other identifying information they request, prepare to provide the city, street name and house number you’re closest to, mile markings and traffic signs or signals, travel direction and whatever else you think will help them find you quickly and easily. Don’t hang up before the dispatcher says you can.
Talking to the Other Driver
Determine you’re safe talking to the other driver, and if you can do so calmly, without police help. If there is any sign road rage may have played a role in the accident, use extra caution when you talk with the other driver. When talking to others, keep to the facts. Do not discuss who was at fault or how much insurance you have with other drivers.
While it’s appropriate to engage in small talk while waiting for the police, refrain from making admissions or blurting out you’re sorry, even when you feel you’re at fault. Avoid expressing anger toward the other driver. Don’t blame the accident on another driver at the scene or accept blame from another driver or witnesses on the scene. It is best to avoid discussion of who is at fault at the scene of an accident. That’s for the insurance companies to determine.
Collecting the Right Information
You should always keep important information in your car, like registration, proof of insurance and the name and phone number of your insurance professional. It’s also a good idea to carry important medical information, such as known allergies and the name of your doctor. Have similar information for loved ones and pets on hand or easily available.
Exchange insurance and contact information only. This prevents you from saying anything that could get used against you later. Here is a list of what you should collect for insurance claims:
Name and contact information
Insurance company and policy number
Driver’s license and license plate number
Type, color and model of vehicle
Location of accident
Be sure to take pictures or video of any damage to both cars, talk to witnesses, write all you can remember about what happened, or even record with audio or video details. Also, document injuries, road and weather, and anything else you believe contributed to the accident. If you have a mobile device, note-taking apps or insurance company mobile apps can be helpful in documenting accident details. If you have a mobile device, download and set up your insurer’s mobile app before any collision occurs in order to expedite the claims process.
Later, save bills and medical records from the accident, since you might need them for claims or court.
Starting an Auto Insurance Claim
It’s important to contact Encharter Insurance provider as soon as possible. This will help expedite the claim process and we may be able to assist you with other services that may be included in your policy.
Use our Auto Accident Reporting Checklist after an accident to gather important information: https://www.encharter.com/media/Auto-Accident-Reporting-Form.pdf At Encharter Insurance, your road safety is very important to us. Call us at (413) 549-4971 or visit our website at www.encharter.com to discuss your auto insurance needs. We can provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the insurance for your budget and needs!