Did you wake up early this morning?
Early enough to get a workout in, make your lunch, and make it out the door five minutes early?
That is the best feeling! Knowing you have time to spare for the traffic you always seem to hit. Well, on your way you notice someone following closely behind you who hit snooze on their alarm and are rushing to get to work.
All of a sudden, you are jolted as that person behind you strikes your car…
Even if you know you are a safe driver, we cannot control the other people on the road. The truth is, no one plans to get in an accident but it happens to the best of us when we least expect it.
As an agency who takes the calls from the concerned clients who are involved in these accidents, we want you to know it is common and there is a good way to handle the situation!
Here are the five steps you should take when you get in an accident:
Move to a Safe Area
The first thing you want to do is take precaution to avoid another accident. We understand this is not always possible depending on where the accident occurs but we recommend pulling to the side of the road away from traffic. This will also ensure that you will avoid additional accidents caused by oncoming traffic. This will also give you a safe place to turn off your vehicle exit your car and talk to the other driver involved in the accident.
Exchange Insurance Information
It is important to trade insurance information with the other driver. Whether you are at fault or not, always exchange policy information. A claim cannot be submitted without this information. Or else it is processed through the uninsured motorist coverage on your plan.
Call the Police
It is important to involve law enforcement from the beginning. This gives a third party opinion on the situation. It also gives a detailed report that describes all of the parties experience and the opinion of the officer taking the report based on the damage. This can be very valuable to the insurance companies as they process the claim and determine who was at fault. The officer also provides an information exchange form.
Take Pictures of the Accident
It is always important to document the damage of all parties involved. These images can serve as proof to the insurance companies to back up what actually happened at the scene. Without this information, the company cannot always properly determine the extent of the damage, who is to blame, and which company needs to payout. If images are not taken at the scene then someone can claim later damage was also a result of the accident even if it was not. Protect yourself by taking pictures of the actual damage that was caused by the accident.
Call your Insurance Company
It is always good to make your insurance company aware of the accident even if you were not the one at fault. This will give you a chance to file a claim and make your company aware of the accident. In this case, you will supply the insurance information of the other driver involved so the companies can determine who is at fault. They may ask for the police report to confirm the details from both parties. These reports are available to the public for insurance purposes.
In the case someone is seriously injured, we always recommend calling 911 so those injuries are addressed immediately.
We know it can be scary, unexpected and unnerving when you find yourself in an accident. Do not be caught off guard next time. Make sure you take these steps to take care of the accident to protect yourself and the other parties involved.