Auto accidents can be scary, but being prepared for what to do if you end up in one will help keep you calm and safe (and will even smooth out the process of filing your insurance claim).
The first instinct after a car accident is to call for help and check for injuries. Both are important, but, then what happens? Being proactive in your response can help keep you, your passengers, and your property safe while simplifying the process of filing a post-accident insurance claim.
With the help of The Cincinnati Insurance Companies, here are some steps to take immediately following a car accident.
The first step is to make sure that you’re not at risk of creating another accident. Consider moving your vehicle to the shoulder or side of the roadway to prevent further damage and/or accidents. If you don’t feel safe remaining in your vehicle, be sure to stand at a distance that keeps you away from traffic. If vehicles are severely damaged, maintain distance from the to avoid unsafe conditions such as car fires or explosions.
Activate your hazard lights and place safety flares or signs promptly to alter other drivers to the accident. If you haven’t yet, contact the police and/or confirm they have been notified. If there are injuries, contact medical assistance and wait for their arrival. Do not administer first aid unless you are qualified to do so.
KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE
Most importantly, remain calm. Maintain your composure, pay attention to your safety, and ask the parties involved for any pertinent information. If you are driving a company-owned vehicle, follow your company’s reporting procedures as soon as possible. No matter what vehicle you’re driving, be courteous but refrain from accepting responsibility or apologizing for anything. It is best to speak only to a police officer when making statements regarding the accident.
Additionally, don’t argue. Situations can escalate quickly, and emotions are often high for all parties involved. It is advisable to review the circumstances surrounding the accident with a police officer present.
If possible, collect the contact information of the responding officer. Make note of their name, department, badge number, and the incident report number. When appropriate, request contact information from other involved insured drivers including name, phone number, and vehicle license plate number. If a company vehicle is involved, record the employer’s name.
If you are driving with passengers and/or there were witnesses around, collect any information you can and request that they remain at the site of the accident until police arrive. Passengers and witnesses can often recount important details or circumstances that may assist in the report.
NOTE SURROUNDING CIRCUMSTANCES
Assuming the above advice has been implemented, now take in your surroundings and make notes for your own future reference. If possible, take a few photos to support your observations. contributing elements including bad weather, dangerous driving conditions, visual impediments, or broken traffic indications. Record any observed injuries of those who were involved in the collision as well as any extra collateral damage to vehicles or other property.
It is best to write down details sooner rather than later. Gathering detailed information following your accident might aid potential investigative needs and will give your insurance agent a precise and succinct summary.
While we hope you never have to use this advice, it’s important to be prepared and know what to do after a car accident. Not only will this advice keep you and your passengers safe, but it will help streamline the process of filing your insurance claim after the fact. And, if you’ve yet to set up your auto insurance coverage or are looking to increase it, contact the Feltner Group to talk through your options.