Even seasoned drivers find themselves panicking when involved in a car accident. Keep in mind that your actions can have a major impact on the outcome, especially when it comes to insurance issues.
In order to take the right steps, you must know what to do after an auto accident. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the situation safely and efficiently.
Assess your surroundings
Check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If none are present, assess the scene around your vehicle for safety issues. If possible, move the vehicle off the road to a secure location and put on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Do not leave the scene for any reason other than an emergency, or you could receive criminal charges for a hit and run.
Contact law enforcement
There are two good reasons to contact the police after an accident. First, they can help with traffic control around the scene, which ensures you and others remain safe. Second, the police will create a report that details what happened. This report is very valuable for determining which party was responsible for what occurred. Your insurer will likely request a copy if one is available.
Gather information at the scene
First, locate other drivers involved and exchange insurance information with them. Be polite when speaking with motorists but keep the conversation brief to refrain from saying something potentially incriminating. Take pictures of your vehicle, as well as any other vehicles that sustained damage. If there are bystanders, ask if they are willing to give a statement about what they witnessed.
Soon after the accident, call your insurance provider to file a claim. Provide any information you have, such as accident pictures. Be honest and forthcoming when answering questions to ensure an efficient process. You should also review policy documents in case there are any issues involving your claim.