Auto accidents are unexpected and stressful. Even the most careful and experienced drivers may be involved in them. However, if and when the unfortunate situation occurs, ensuring your safety and the safety of others should be the highest priority. You can assess your vehicle’s damage and deal with insurance later when the time is more appropriate. Just remember automobiles can always be replaced, lives cannot. Here are some good tips to follow if you’re involved in an accident.
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for this kind of situation. Keeping traffic cones or warning triangles in your car could prove beneficial and prevent further accidents from occurring. Some people even store emergency flares in their trunk so they can be ready to alert other passing motorists at night. Smaller items such as a pen and pad of paper can help you collect relevant medical and insurance information from all those involved – remember, you won’t always be able to rely on your phone, especially in the event of an accident.
Immediately After An Accident
Be sure to remain calm. Your demeanor can greatly affect those around you, so do your best to stay level-headed. Check yourself and others for injuries and be sure to call an ambulance if you’re in any doubt. Turn on your hazard lights and remain in your car if you are on a dangerous road.
If the accident is minor, each party involved should move his or her vehicle to a safe place, out of the way of traffic. Set up any cones, warning triangles or flares that you may have when it is safe to do so.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, call the police, even if it’s a minor accident. Do not allow anyone to convince you otherwise. A police officer will help generate an “accident report” for later use by the insurance companies.
Exchanging Insurance Information
After you’ve ensured everyone’s safety, notify your insurance agent of the accident immediately. Gather all the information you can, including:
- The license plate numbers of the involved automobiles
- The names of every party member involved
- The driver’s license numbers of the vehicle operators
- Each driver’s automobile insurance company (including name, address, phone, number, and policy number)
- The names and contact information of any witnesses that are willing to help
Try to limit your discussion of the accident to the police and your insurance agent. Do your best to remember the details of the accident, including the damage to the vehicles as well as any conversations you had with the other involved party members, officers, and insurance agents. Write these details down, as they will help develop a case for your insurance company to work with. Be honest and specific over what happened. Do not exaggerate and NEVER admit to any liability or guilt. That is for the insurance companies to assess. Supplementary to that, do not sign any document unless it’s for the police or your insurance agent.
File an Insurance Claim
Once you’ve exchanged insurance information, you’ll need to contact your insurance provider in order to make a car accident claim. After sharing the information you’ve gathered with them, your insurance company will make a determination of fault and take action accordingly. If you were at fault, your insurance company may or may not provide compensation, depending on the scope of your policy. If you were not at fault, your insurance provider will negotiate a compensation amount from the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you feel that you are being undercompensated, you do not have to accept the insurance company’s offer. You hold the right to take your car accident claim to court, where it may be possible to settle for a more agreeable amount of compensation or have your claim reviewed by a jury. It should be noted, however, that there exists a real risk that you could receive less compensation than you were hoping for.