People often say that driving or riding in a car is the most dangerous part of their day. Statistically speaking, many of these people may be right. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were approximately 5.6 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes, 2.1 million injuries and 22,912 fatalities in 2012. Despite these sobering statistics, drivers can take steps after an accident to minimize the damage to people and property.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, drivers should take the following steps immediately after an accident:
Assess the Damage. Immediately after an accident, safely move the vehicle off the road, if possible, and check to see if anyone is injured. When it’s safe to do so, inspect the vehicle to determine the extent of any damage.
Call the Police. If you are in a serious accident, immediately call the police or dial 911. Let them know if anyone is hurt and the extent of their injuries so medical assistance can be dispatched. File a police report even if the police don’t come to the scene of the accident. A report can be important if someone involved in the accident sues for damages or medical injuries, or if there is more damage done to your car than initially thought. If the police do come to the accident scene, get the officers’ names and badge numbers and ask where you can get a copy of their report.
Collect as much information as possible. Get the names and contact information of everyone involved in the crash, including witnesses. Ask all drivers involved in the accident for their license, car registration and insurance ID card. Get the make and model of the cars involved, and make a note of the location, time of day and the weather conditions. A smart phone or other device can be used to record this information. Though emotions may be running high after an accident, focus on the facts and do not discuss who was at fault, or how much insurance you have, with anyone else involved in the accident.
Don’t leave the scene. If you run into an unattended vehicle, try to find the owner. If you can’t, leave a note containing your name, address and phone number. Record the details of the accident, including the make and model of the car and the address where the accident occurred.
Get the claims process started. Promptly notify your automobile insurance company or agent as soon as possible while the facts are still fresh in your mind. Keep a record of the name, title and contact information for everyone you speak with from your insurance company. Complete any claim forms you receive as soon, and as accurately, as possible. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask the claims adjuster or your insurance agent for assistance.
Keep all documentation. Create a file to keep all of your notes, records and claim forms. This can make the process of resolving your claim quicker and easier.
Taking steps before an accident can also make it easier to recover afterward. It’s important to have appropriate insurance coverage with sufficient limits. If you would like more information about obtaining automobile insurance that meets your needs, please contact us.
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