You are driving down the road when out of nowhere you are involved in an accident. What should you do?
Be Safe! Prevent further injuries. If there are no serious injuries move the vehicles off the right-of-way. If the cars can’t be moved all passengers should remain in the vehicle with their safety belts on. Turn on your flashers, put out traffic cones, triangles, or flares. Call 911 and report the accident. Render first aid.
You should keep an emergency kit. This kit should include paper and pen to record information, a disposable or cheap digital camera, a card with emergency medical information that includes allergies or medical conditions of people that regularly ride in the vehicle and finally a list of contacts with phone numbers of people to be notified for law enforcement. You should also keep a flashlight, traffic cones, triangles, and (or) flares.
Exchange information; get the name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, drivers’ license number, and license plate number of the other driver involved.
If the driver’s name is not the same as the name on the insurance policy establish what the relationship is to the policy owner. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all passengers. Make a written description of each car involved including the make, model, year, and color.
Write down the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Be polite to police and all involved but do not tell anyone that the accident was your fault even if you believe that it was!
Take pictures, as many as you can, they may be used in court or by an adjustor. If any witnesses are available try to get their contact information. You may need them if the other driver doesn’t agree with you on how the accident happened.
File an accident report. Many times if the accident is minor with no injuries the police may not come. File with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Forms are usually available from the police or on line at the DMV Web Site as a download file.
You should know what your insurance covers. Does it include towing or car rental? When you have an accident is not the time to guess how and what is covered.
If you have a minor accident you and the other driver might be temped to handle the damages yourselves and not involve the insurance companies.
This is probably not a good idea. When the bills come in the other driver might change his mind. Or the other driver might report the accident to his insurance company and might even claim injuries that were not apparent at the time of the accident. This could mean that your insurance company might end up paying a large settlement or worse you could be taken to court. So make sure that your insurance company has a copy of your version of what happened.
Check you policy, sometimes if the payout is below a certain amount the accident might not be considered chargeable, so you would avoid a penalty of a premium hike.
Chances are high that at some point in time you will be involved in a collision. Remember to keep your head and make safety your number one concern. You will have lots of time later to deal with the consequences. Remember that Padula’s Auto Body & Repair can make your damaged car look like new.