What To Do After a Car Accident
Whether you've gotten into a fender bender or totaled your car, accidents are scary. No matter the cause – weather and road conditions, irresponsible driving behavior, or something unforeseen – you should be prepared for any possibility.
Even the most careful drivers can be involved in an accident, which is why we've provided these nine tips to help you get through an accident safely:
1. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries.
If you don't know whether a particular injury is serious, call 911 just in case.
2. Remain calm.
This one is easier said than done, but try to remain calm and take deep breaths to keep a clear head during this experience – there may be details you'll need to remember later you'll only recall if you were calm. If the accident was caused by another party, try to keep your cool and be polite.
3. Get moving.
If the accident was minor, move all cars involved to a safe place out of traffic. If the accident was more serious but you seem well enough to move, bring yourself and any other people involved to the side of the road, away from oncoming traffic. However, if you doubt the well-being of yourself or someone else involved, LEAVE THEM THERE. It may sound counter-intuitive, but moving someone while they're in a fragile state can cause even more harm – let the professionals handle the situation as they see fit.
If you doubt the well-being of yourself or someone else involved, be sure to alert emergency officials and follow their advice if it's to leave them there! Moving someone while they're in a fragile state can cause even more harm.
4. Take proper safety precautions.
Turn off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and, if you have them, use cones to mark off the area. Carrying emergency flares in your trunk is a great idea to ensure that people can see you in the event of an accident.
5. Call 911.
Whether an accident is considered a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important — and in some states, it's legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. When you file a claim with your insurer, they may ask for a copy of the police report to help with the claims process.
6. Document the accident.
If you can, take pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars, take picture of the license plate, and if there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well. This will protect you against fraudulent claims from the other people affected.
7. Exchange information.
Collect as much information as you can about the other parties involved, including the driver's name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver's license number, license plate number, vehicle information (color, make and year) and location of the accident.
8. Stay put.
No one should leave the scene of the accident until the police have arrived and you have filed a report. In most states, it's actually illegal to leave the scene of an accident, so stay where you are and wait for further instruction from the authorities.
9. Notify your insurance provider.
Report a claim online or call your insurance company or agent for further assistance.
Stay safe out there and be prepared for whatever comes your way!
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