No one wants to be involved in a car accident, but accidents do happen. When you are involved in an automobile accident, it is essential that you keep a clear head. If you and the other passengers only suffer slight injuries, there are a few things you need to do following an accident. Following this checklist will ensure that you do not make any mistakes that could have a negative effect of any claims you may pursue in the future.
Assess the Damage
Your first priority is checking on the well-being of yourself, the passengers, and the driver of the other car. Make sure no one was seriously injured during the accident. If they were, call an ambulance immediately and render any assistance your feel capable of giving. If no one is seriously injured, check your vehicle for damage.
Call the Police
You should always call the police after an accident—no matter how minor. Many insurance companies require a legal accident report before they will release any funds to you. In some states, it is illegal to be in an automobile accident and not call the police.
Under no circumstances should you discuss the accident with anyone other than your insurance agent and the police. If the other party wants to talk about how the accident happened, you should politely decline and step away. Never admit fault or liability. There is no need to declare to anyone that you are responsible for the accident. Let the police and the insurance companies handle that.
Get All the Information
Do not trust anyone to get all the pertinent information for you. At the very least, you need the other driver’s name, phone number, insurance information, and license plate. It’s even better if you can get the VIN of the other car and the other driver’s address. Many insurance carriers advise you to carry a camera in your car, but in the age of smartphones, it is quite easy to photograph the accident using your phone.
Call Your Insurance Agent
If you can, you should call your insurance agent immediately after the accident. Calling from the scene of the accident is best. You need to let them know what’s going on. If you feel too shaken up to complete the call, you can always have the officer at the scene speak with your insurance agent.
Call an Attorney
While you might feel that your insurance company should take care of you, they quite often are looking to minimize their expense. With a free consultation from an attorney about your car accident you will understand your options. In addition to understanding what is possible an attorney can often alleviate the pesky calls and the rush that many insurance companies attempt to settle at a low amount.
If you follow these simple steps, you will ensure that you have all of the pertinent information needed to successfully file and insurance claim. If you feel that your insurance company is not fulfilling its obligations to you, you can always seek the counsel of a car accident claims attorney.