Being in a car accident is a jarring and disorienting experience, especially if it is your first. There are a million questions going through your head such as: what happened? Am I at fault? Is anyone hurt? In these situations often times the last thing you think about is getting critical information related to the accident, but it is always extremely important that you do get this information. It can be hard to think rationally and know exactly what to do in the middle of this setting which is why it is important to print out a simple checklist that you can use after you have an accident. There is nothing to think or worry about just follow these steps one at a time.
- Determine the extent of damages or injuries.
- First make sure to see if anyone needs medical attention, and if so, call an ambulance. After that, survey the accident and make notes about the damage to the vehicles as well as any persons involved.
- File a car accident report with the police.
- Even in minor traffic collisions it is important to have a police record on file, do not leave the scene of the accident until the police file a complete report.
- Discuss the car accident only with the police.
- After an intense experience, such as having an accident, it can be hard to deny the urge to talk about what happened with those around you. However, avoid this as much as possible. You can inadvertently admit fault or liability while discussing what happened which can be detrimental, especially if you are not thinking clearly and accurately after the traumatic event that just occurred. You should talk only to police officers and your insurance agent about the specifics of the accident.
- Get the facts.
- This might be the most obvious part, but it is important to know what information to get. Be sure and get the name, address, and phone number of everyone involved in the accident. A description of the car and license plate can be helpful but most importantly get the insurance company information and vehicle identification number. Many people think just the license plate number is enough but most insurance companies don’t have this information, but they do have the vehicle identification number.
- Call your insurance agent.
- Call your insurance agent right away, even at the scene of the accident. Sometimes the police officer can give more accurate information to your insurance agent because they are removed from the emotion of the scene. Having better information more accurately on file can save time waiting for your claim to be processed.
Hopefully you will never need this information, but it is better to be safe than sorry. In the moment after an accident you will be glad that you have this information handy in your glove box. It will be one less burden weighing on your mind.
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