08 Jun After an accident: 4 things you must do
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 10 million vehicle collisions each year in the United States. The majority of the reported accidents are non-fatal. You’ll never forget your first fender bender or accident, but it’s vital to take the appropriate steps to ensure the physical and financial safety of everyone involved.
Safely pull over to the side of the road, and call 911.
Steer away from traffic and make sure to turn on your hazard lights. First, assess your health and the status of your other passengers to make sure everyone is okay. If someone is injured, move them to a safe location and call for paramedic assistance immediately. For passengers who have sustained a neck or back injury or are unconscious, keep them still until medical assistance has arrived.
Next, call the police to report the incident, providing them with your location and an assessment of the situation and any injuries. Even if there are no injuries, calling 911 ensures a neutral third party source gains insight on the situation, which may be helpful for the future of your case. Oftentimes, insurance companies need an official report to be filed so the situation doesn’t turn into a “your word against theirs” case. Having an official report is especially useful in accidents outside of your state of residence. Also, make sure to take down the names and badge numbers of the responding officers.
Collect crucial information.
If the other car involved does not pull over, try and record their license plate number as soon as you can. If they do pull over, make sure to exchange contact, license, insurance (policy number and name of company) and car (VIN, plate number) information with the other driver. You should also collect the names, numbers and addresses of any passengers involved.
Take photos with your cell phone and jot down any pertinent notes. Bonus point if you can gather any witness accounts and their contact information. This can all help when dealing with insurance and the court systems later. Although this is a stressful situation, try to stay calm, cooperative and polite when dealing with the other involved parties. However, don’t apologize or admit fault for anything right away. You may be assuming legal liability, which may make you automatically guilty for the accident.
Call roadside assistance.
If your car is damaged and doesn’t seem safe to drive, contact Tiger Towing for fast and reliable roadside help. We know accidents don’t just happen from 9 to 5, so we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once alerted about a situation, we immediately dispatch a tow truck to your location. Accident assistance is a top priority for us, and you can count on Tiger Towing to provide excellent care and reliability. We are available anytime at (573) 449-3754!
Contact your insurance company, ASAP.
The sooner your insurance can begin their investigation and prepare your claim, the better. Explain any damages, injuries and honestly recount the events of the situation to your company. The cost to repair your car will also need to be estimated, so schedule an appointment at the repair shop or location suggested by your insurance company. Remember, the first estimate may not be accurate, so obtain additional quotes if you feel the need.
If anyone needs medical attention from the accident, be sure to keep track of their treatments and medications. They should also record how their injuries (no matter how big or small) have impacted their life.
Although each situation is different, try to follow this process as closely as possible. This will ensure the best outcome for you and your bank account.