If you haven’t been involved in an automobile accident, you’re fortunate. Automobile accidents happen every day. In the United States, more than five million occur each year. It’s best to be prepared in case you become a statistic.
What Happens After A Car Crash
After any car crash, all individuals involved will experience a surge of adrenaline. The obvious first step is to make sure everyone in your vehicle is conscious and unharmed. If there are injuries, call 911 right away. If you’re able to safely exit the vehicle, try to flag down help. If everyone is OK, you’ll need to exit the vehicle and seek assistance, moving your car to a safe location if it is blocking traffic. If the accident is minor or occurs during a major weather event when police resources may be spread thin, calling the police is not a necessary car accident procedure. It is necessary to collect critical information you’ll use to validate your insurance claim later.
What Data You Should Collect Before Leaving The Scene
Here are the steps to take if you are in a car accident to increase the likelihood your insurance or the other party’s will cover the bulk of your repair costs
- Exchange driver’s licenses with the other party and write down the license number and all contact information.
- Exchange insurance cards and record the company name, policy number and vehicle identification number. Use your smart phone to take pictures of the other parties drivers licenses and insurance information makes it much easier in the post accident adrenaline rush.
- Snap photos of both cars, the other person’s license plate and the general accident scene to show the positioning of the vehicles.
- Record the exact time of the accident and make note of businesses that may have security cameras that may have recorded the accident.
- Approach witnesses to the accident and request their names and phone numbers. In case of a dispute, they may become critical allies.
What you should never do following an accident is sign anything for the other party, admit guilt, accept or offer money or state equivocally you and your passengers have no injuries.
Dealing With The Insurance Companies
Once your vehicle is towed or you have returned home, call your insurance company. While you may be tempted to go into a detailed description of what happened, don’t. With your emotions running at warp speed, you may inadvertently incriminate yourself. Instead, simply tell them you were involved in an accident and succinctly answer their questions. Never admit blame! Let your insurance company and the accident attorney or other party’s insurance company sort out the details and determine fault.
Regardless of what your insurer determines, you undoubtedly will want to have your vehicle repaired as quickly as possible. Don’t feel you must use a repair shop recommended by your insurer. So-called “preferred shops” often earn that label by saving the insurance company money by cutting corners and costs repairing damaged vehicles. We hope you’re never involved in a car accident. If you are, though, contact us at Southwest Auto for reliable, scrupulous repair.