Is it your first time using a car and you want to make sure you know what to do after a car accident? Being careful and alert when you drive is one of the best ways to prepare for auto accidents. However, it also helps if you know what you need to do in case one does happen.
You’re not the only driver out on the road, after all. Also, sometimes, accidents happen even if everyone is being careful. In the US, three million people get injured in nonfatal motor vehicle crashes each year.
In the guide below, we’ll discuss the steps you need to take when you get involved in a car accident. We included how you can keep safe during and after a car accident. Read below to learn what you have to do when you’re involved in an auto accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident: Stop and Stay at the Scene
When you get involved in a car accident, always stay at the scene. Never drive away because you can get charged with “hit and run” when you do. Drivers who drive away from a scene face criminal charges and a possible felony arrest.
If you hit a parked car with nobody in it, try to wait a few minutes for the owner to arrive. If you must go, don’t drive away without doing anything. Write down your contact information on a piece of paper and leave it where the owner can see it. Safety First: Check Yourself and Your Passengers for
The next step is to check yourself for injuries from the accident. After you look yourself over, check on your passengers next. If you or someone else has injuries, call 911 for emergency medical personnel right away.
If you or someone else has serious injuries, don’t try to move. Unnecessary movement can cause more damage to the injured person, especially if it involves a neck injury. Wait for emergency personnel to reach the scene.
Go to a safe place, usually the side of the road or a sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard, pull it to the roadside. Otherwise, leave it to preserve the scene and go to safety. Unless you have a CPR license, in which case, of course, you should try to help.
Call the Police
Whether it’s your first car accident or nobody has serious injuries, always call the police.
Depending on where you live, calling the police is even one of the legal requirements. If the police can’t come to the scene, you can go to the nearest police station instead.
The reason behind this is so you get car accident help. The responding officers will also fill out the accident report and document the scene. You may also need the police report to file an insurance claim.
Next, approach the passengers and the other driver to exchange vital information. The information you want to get and give must include the:
● Contact number
● Insurance information
Try to get these bits of information from everyone involved in the accident. When the police arrive, they will do the same as well as give you and other drivers a police report number. Get the responding police offer’s name, as well.
Also, collect information about the cars involved and about the accident. Such information includes:
● Vehicle description, make, model, and year
● Vehicle registration information
● License plate number
● Date and time of the accident
● Address of the accident
● The road you are on
● The direction you were traveling in
● The direction the other car was traveling in
● Driving conditions
If there are witnesses, you can also talk to them and get their information.
Record the Accident
Once you’re done exchanging information, go around and document the accident. Use your phone to take photos of damages on the vehicles. Do the same with visible injuries on the person or your passengers.
If you hit a pole or private property with your car, take photos of the damaged object. Also, try to take photos of the positioning of the cars and where they were on the street. Insurance companies accept claims information taken from apps or email.
Learn What the Insurance Will Cover
Before you enter the insurance claiming process, you may want to know what insurance coverage would apply. If the other driver was at fault, the typical auto insurance will cover:
● Part of your vehicle’s repairs
● Part of your medical bills
If the other person doesn’t have insurance or didn’t have enough coverage, they’d need to payout. They’ll also pay for the repairs on their car and their medical expenses. If you need towing service and have an AAA membership, the emergency roadside services also get covered.
Rental car reimbursement coverage will also pay for a rental while your car is in the shop for repairs. You’ll likely need collision and comprehensive coverage to get this. From here, you decide whether you need to file a claim.
Inform Your Insurer and Process Your Claim
If you decide to file a claim, call your insurer. When you do this, always be ready to pay a deductible fee. From the information you give, your insurer will contact the other driver’s insurer.
The insurance companies will do their investigation to see who is at fault. Afterward, you may get asked to get a repair estimate or an adjuster will assess the damage. It may cover medical costs and reimburse you up to the at-fault driver’s liability limits.
In 2021, the rate analysis of the national average cost of car insurance is $1592 per year. As a tip, it helps if you look for lower car insurance rates. Some insurance companies may charge you double for the same accident. Meanwhile, other insurance companies offer accident forgiveness.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney
Talking to an auto accident lawyer is the final step of what to do after a car accident. This is helpful if you want to know what will happen next after the accident. Contacting an auto accident attorney will also help you protect your rights, especially if you aren’t at fault.
Approach an Auto Accident Right
Now that you know what to do after a car accident, you can feel better about being on the road. Always keep these steps in mind, even when you don’t often drive a car. Knowing these steps can help ease the process of an auto accident.
Did you enjoy reading this guide on accidents and auto insurance? Check out our other guides and posts for more content like this.