It is something that we hope never happens but, unfortunately, sometimes it does. There are around 6 million car accidents every year in the United States alone. If you are a driver, chances are you will not be able to avoid at least one accident over the course of your driving career. What you can do is be prepared in the event that it happens. From filing a Police Report to working with your insurance, there are a host of things you need to remember after you have had an accident.
The very first and most important thing to do in the moments after an accident is to make sure health and safety is the top concern. First, take stock of your and any of your passenger’s bodies to make sure you are all ok. If so, the next step is to assess the situation and see if it is safe to get out of the car and/or move the car to the side of the road to make it safer for yourself and other motorists. If you do all this you can then get out and check on the other driver and passengers. It is always a smart idea to carry a roadside safety car kit in the back of your car so you can put out cones or flares in the result of an accident as well.
Let the Police Handle It
First of all, never drive away from the scene of an accident. No matter how serious you should always call the police to inform them. If the accident is extremely minor, they may tell you to go on your way but at least you covered yourself. In many places, it is legally required to call the police and submit a Police Report if there is a certain amount of damage. When you involve the police in handling your accident you know that there will be an impartial record of what happened and the other person or people involved will not be able to come back later and change their story.
Even when you involve the police you still want to take all the steps to protect yourself from any legal issues that may arise. After you safely get out of your car, assess the damage. See what happened to both cars, not just yours, and take pictures of the scene. After that, you can exchange insurance info with the other driver or drivers. Make sure you ask to see and write down their driver’s license information as well. In the days and weeks after, you should keep a file of that info, the police report, any communication with lawyers, and your insurance company. If there is damage to your car, you will then have to work with your insurance company to get it repaired. Every state has different laws about who pays for what in crashes and all insurance companies have different policies and procedures. Make sure you look into all of that immediately following your accident.
Car accidents are terrible and nobody ever wants to be involved in one. If and when you are though, remember these three main things and it will hopefully make it a less painful experience.