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1. Put safety first.
The first thing to do after an accident is to check everyone involved for injuries. Even minor collisions can cause serious injuries such as whiplash and concussions. If you or anyone else is injured, call 911. If you’re seriously injured, try not to move unless it’s necessary for your safety. Otherwise, wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
In accidents that don’t involve serious injury, move the cars to the side of the road to avoid traffic. In serious accidents where the cars can’t be moved, get everyone involved to safety, then set out cones, flares and or hazard lights to warn oncoming drivers of the situation.
2. Call the police.
If someone is injured in the accident, or the damage exceeds a few hundred dollars, most states require you to call the police and make an accident report.
Check your local DMV for specifics. Depending on the state, law enforcement officers don’t always respond to accidents unless there are injuries. In that case, you can make the report by phone or on the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website. Even in accidents with minor damage and no injuries, it’s a good idea to submit an accident report as this can help document what happened and speed up the claims process. Always obtain a written copy of the report.
3. Exchange driver information.
After making sure everyone is safe, exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This should include your name, address, phone number, driver’s license and license plate number, as well as your insurance company and policy number. If a driver is not the owner of the car, make of note of their relationship to the owner, such as family member or friend. If possible, get the names and contact information for any witnesses. When exchanging information, do not apologize to the other driver or suggest that the accident was your fault, as this could be used against you when determining who pays for the damages.
4. Document the scene.
Use your cell phone to photograph the scene, keeping in mind that you want the pictures to show the overall context of the accident. Then make written notes of how, where, and when the accident occurred. This should include:
- The exact time, date and location of the accident
- Traffic, road and weather conditions
- Injuries (if any) and the extent of the damage to each vehicle
- Your personal account of how the accident happened
- The badge number of the police officer, if you speak to one
5. Notify your insurance agent.
Most insurance companies require drivers to contact their agents within a short time after the accident. Failure to report the accident on time could delay the claims process. When talking to your agent, provide all photos and written notes, including information about the other drivers.
If your vehicle gets damaged in the accident, Fix Auto can help. Call us today at 800-463-6349 for fast, professional auto body repair work done right the first time.