In the United States, there are six million car accidents every year.
Statistically speaking, drivers face a notable risk of becoming the next victim each time they hit the road. For this reason, it is imperative to understand what to do after a car accident.
If you’re lucky, you may never need this information. But with such a high chance of it occurring, now is the best time to familiarize yourself with the next steps before anything happens.
Read on below for six of the most important steps to take following your first car accident.
1. Call the Police
Even after minor accidents, it is instrumental that you do not leave the scene.
Call the police immediately, as they will come to protect the scene from any further damage. They will also create a police report that will come in handy when you file a claim with your insurance company.
2. Keep an Accurate Record
Once the police do arrive, tell them exactly what happened. Avoid speculating or guessing what happened, and be sure to validate or counter the statements of the other party.
If possible, take photos of the scene and any visible damage to the vehicles. This is also true for visible injuries. However, be sure to avoid interfering with the police investigation in the process.
3. Exchange Information
Generally speaking, the responding police officer(s) will obtain information from both parties. But in case they fail to take down this information properly, it’s a good idea to get a copy for yourself.
This includes the name, address, and phone number of all parties involved in the accident. It also includes the insurance and vehicle registration information for the other car(s) involved.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Injuries resulting from auto accidents do not always present themselves immediately. Unless you know without a doubt you are uninjured, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention following such an incident.
Any potential injuries should be identified early on so they can be properly treated, as well as for documentation purposes for your insurance and any potential legal action that may follow.
5. Notify Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company should be notified as soon as possible for car accident help. In fact, most policies require your full cooperation and reporting immediately after the incident occurs.
The next steps will vary depending on your policy and carrier, but your insurance agent will walk through the options with you once they gather all pertinent information.
6. Contact an Attorney
Another important item on the list of what to do after a car crash: contacting a car accident lawyer. This is key when you are not at fault for the accident occurring.
With their skills and experience in the field, a trusted accident attorney can help you fight to recover damages to compensate for any pain and suffering you may have endured resulting from the accident. They can help with various other case types as well.
7. Contact your insurance company
While it can be tempting to make the price of a loan to avoid filing the insurance company aware, failing to notifying your insurance provider after the accident can make you in the position of being liable for damages that resulted from the crash.
Schipani’s insurance company declared her car to be a total loss. The costs of repairs could have surpassed the value of the vehicle. She later learned that the driver who hit her was not covered by insurance at all.
“They said it was possible to try to extract money from him, but it would be better for them to handle the claim,” she adds. “My advice is to never leave the scene — even for a minor fender bender — without a police report, especially if it’s clearly and obviously not your fault.”
In situations like Schipani’s an insurance claims expert can guide you through your options.
“If the other person’s insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your damages, your insurance professional can check your policy for any coverage that might address that,” Luna states.
In the case of an accident, for instance, if the insurance company determines that you’re not responsible and has an obligation waiver, which means you don’t have to cover your deductible.
Now You Know What to Do Following Your First Car Accident
With this brief guide, you can begin to get an idea of what to do following your first car accident. Hopefully, you will never need this information.
But in these types of situations, it is much better to be safe rather than sorry and familiarize yourself with these steps ahead of time.
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