Even with the safest driving, getting into a car accident is still a possibility. It is in your best interest to be prepared for a car accident by:
- Placing important documents such as IDs, insurance company contact information, health insurance information, emergency contacts, and vehicle registration in the glovebox of the passenger seat.
- Keeping a safety kit in your car.
- Have a mobile phone handy.
If in the unfortunate case that you are in a car accident, follow these steps:
- Check to see if everyone is all right.
- If it is safe to do so, move your car off the road and away from harm’s way, but be careful not to leave the scene. If you cannot, turn on your blinkers or alert others of the hazard. Once safe, please exit the vehicle
- Check that the others are okay.
- Once you are safe and have looked over your injuries, you should check on others involved in the accident if it is safe to do so.
- Call 9-11. If there is significant damage to the vehicles and/or severe injuries, call 9-11. Even in minor cases, it may be wise to call the police to assess the situation.
- Exchange information. Obtain information from others involved in the accident, including:
- Names of everyone involved, including passengers, and contact information (phone number, address)
- License plate numbers
- Car makes and models
- Insurance information
- Location and time of accident
- Contact info for any eyewitnesses
- Police names and badge #’s, if present, and police report #
- When exchanging information, cooperate with all of those present, but refrain from saying or admitting anything that points blame to yourself. You should let the police determine who, if anyone, was at fault.
- Document the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene and of road conditions. Photograph all the damage that your car received, as well as the other car. Using these pictures to compare to a “before” picture of your car will help highlight the damages done to your car.
- Call your insurance company and file a claim. Your insurance company will give you a valuation of the damage for your vehicle. You may want to hire an attorney with whom you can discuss the offer provided by your insurance company. If other insurance companies call you to discuss the incident, politely refer them to your lawyer or insurance company.
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