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Car tips & advice | 13.06.2014 - 19:36

Been in a Car Accident? Here's What to do Now...

Getting in an accident can throw a wrench into anyone's plans. With all the adrenaline flowing you might not be able to think straight so it is good to plan ahead for what you will do if you are ever in a situation like this...

Auto accidents are stressful and often confusing. Luckily, if you are prepared, you can reduce much of the anxiety and stress that accompanies these incidents by keeping a level head and following these steps.

 

Pull to the Side

When an accident occurs in the middle of the road, it is important to pull your vehicle off to the shoulder, if possible. Leaving the wreck in the middle of a busy street or intersection is dangerous, and poses a hazard to both you and other drivers.

 

As quickly as you can, pull your car to the side to clear the road and park safely away from moving traffic with your hazard lights on. Particularly if the accident occurs at night, set traffic cones and/or flares around the accident area to warn other drivers to use caution as they approach.

 

Check for Injuries

Before you do anything else, check for injuries. If you have passengers riding with you, make sure they are alright and assess the severity of any injuries. If you or any of your passengers are seriously hurt, call 911 to dispatch medical assistance.

 

Later, if the other driver was at fault, you will need to notify their insurance company of any injuries incurred, so they know your potential intent to file a personal injury claim.

 

Call the Police

After you’ve checked for injuries, notify the authorities of the accident right away. If no one was injured, call the police to dispatch an officer. The police will document the incident and help you file a report at the scene. Police reports can also expedite the insurance claims process later. Be sure to note the officer’s name, badge/ID number, and contact information, as well as the police report number.

 

Exchange Information

Once you have checked for injuries, have your documentation and information ready to exchange with the other driver(s). Make sure you don’t discuss the incident in great deal—above all else, avoid admitting fault for the accident. Any kind of admittance of guilt for the incident could be used against you later on.

 

Verify that the other driver is unharmed, then exchange the following information:

 

  1. Name, address, and phone number
  2. Make, model, and year of the car
  3. License plate number
  4. Insurance carrier and policy number
  5. The number of occupants in the other vehicle
  6. Contact information of any witnesses

 

The personal injury attorneys at Dexter & Dexter Law recommend you document everything throughout the process, to ensure you have all the information you need to support your claims. This information will be important later when you speak with the police, your insurance agency, and your lawyer, if you hire one.  

 

Evaluate Damages

Once you’ve exchanged information, take time to assess the damage to your vehicle. Write down all damages you see, both minor and major. Take pictures of the damage to provide further evidence. Be sure to include close up images as well as wider photos that will show the context of the accident to strengthen your case when you speak with a claims adjuster.

 

Contact your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company immediately after the accident to begin the claims process. If you aren’t sure what your insurance will cover, discuss it with your insurance agent. They can go over the details of the accident and help you understand what you can expect to receive in compensation, if anything.

 

In the case of injury, make sure you go over your options with your insurance. You can also call a personal injury attorney to find out if you have a case. A personal injury lawyer can inform you on your rights, and help you get fair compensation for the costs of reparation, if you were harmed in the accident.

 

Unfortunately, dealing with the consequences of an auto accident can be a long and involved process long after the actual incident. However, if you are prepared, you will be able to handle the stress and confusion with relative ease. Keep a level head, notify the authorities, and document all necessary information and you will be well on your way to resolving the issue and moving forward with your life.

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Driver: Meghan
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. Meghan also enjoys researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.
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