Saturday, February 18, 2017

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident to Protect Yourself

Review this list of steps you need to take after a car accident, to prepare yourself should the unthinkable occur. Immediately after an accident, you may be shook up or in a slight state of shock, and having a printed checklist may help you move through the process smoothly, while protecting yourself from future lawsuits or erroneous clams in the future.

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Immediately after any car accident, turn off your car. This may seem obvious right now, however, it is not the first thing you may think about after your vehicle collides with another vehicle or object.

Check for Injuries
First, check yourself for injury. You won’t be able to help anyone else if you are injured. Check passengers in your car for injury. Also verify that nobody in the other vehicle or vehicles is injured. If anyone is injured, call 911. Use blankets and basic first aid to help any car crash victims, but do not move anyone who is unconscious or seriously injured, unless there are smoke and flames coming from the car.

Call the Police
Some people do not want to involve the police or their insurance companies when they are involved in a car accident. Your best protection against inflated or erroneous claims by another party in the future is to have the police document the scene. When the damage to your car is going to cost more than your deductible, it makes sense to have a police report filed.

By calling the police you will also have the other driver’s name, license plate and insurance information, which you will need when filing a claim. Having the police there will also remove the hassles involved with you trying to get information from an uncooperative (at best), or inebriated (at worst) driver. If the accident occurred on a turnpike or state highway, call the State Police.

Document the Scene
Use a digital camera, camera phone or disposable camera to photograph the scene. When possible, move cars involved in fender benders or minor accidents from busy roadways or intersections. Use emergency road flares to warn other drivers of the disabled cars. Do this before moving the cars only when it is safe to do so. Although there will be a police report available later, you will still need information for your insurance company.

Exchange driver’s licenses and insurance cards with the other driver. Write down the name and address of the driver, insurance company name and the policy number. Also write down the names of the other car’s passengers. Also note the license plate information and state and make and model of the other driver’s car.

Make a note of the name of the police officer and badge number, as well as the location where you can retrieve a copy of the police report.

Call the Tow Truck
If your car needs to be towed, call a tow truck. Use the emergency roadside assistance service of your car insurance company, or another roadside assistance company. When you don’t have either, the police will help arrange a tow. Also make arrangements for you and your passengers to get home or continue to your destination.

Call Your Insurance Company
As soon as you are home or at work and settled in, call your insurance company to report the accident. Provide the insurance company with the information they need and make your own note of when you called, the agent’s name and a claim number if one is provided.


“At the Scene of an Accident,” Insurance Information Institute,
Insurance Information Institute,

Labels: 5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident to Protect Yourself

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