We all try our best to drive safely in order to avoid getting into an accident, but sometimes, accidents happen. After an accident you’re most likely not thinking completely clearly, as this was just a shock to your system. Below is an action plan on how to deal with accidents so that you prepare in the event one happens to you.
1. Emergency Kit – This is not a first aide kit, though you should keep one in your vehicle if possible. Drivers should have access to a cell phone, pen, paper and disposable camera or camera phone to note the accident. Drivers should also keep information about them if they need any special medial attention, such as allergies or special medical conditions should any serious injuries occur. If you would like to purchase a pre-made emergency kit, DocuDent™ Auto Accident Kit is supported by AAA and insurance companies.
2. Safety First - If a minor accident with no injuries has occurred, then it is advised to move the vehicles to the side of the road to keep out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars in traffic can lead to additional accidents. If the vehicle(s) cannot be moved, immediately turn on hazard lights or find ways to let other drivers know to avoid that area. If you stay in your car, make sure you wear your seatbelt for safety until help arrives.
3. Exchange Information – Get this information from the person(s) involved in the accident: driver’s name, address, phone number(s), insurance company, policy number, drivers license number, license plate number, make/model/year/color of vehicle, vehicle identification number and registration number. If the driver’s name is different from what is listed on the insurance card, establish the relationship and get the information for each individual.
4. Document the Accident with Notes & Photographs – Most cell phones have a camera built in so it’s very helpful to take pictures of the accident. In doing so, you want your photos to tell the overall story of the accident (who’s fault) so that you can make your case in court or with the insurance company. If witnesses were present, get their contact information as they may be able to help you should you need to verify or dispute events of the accident.
5. File an Accident Report with the Police – If your accident is very minor and both parties don’t feel the need to contact the police for immediate help, you should file an accident report as soon as you can. Some states offer reports that can be downloaded from their site. Or you can do it the old fashion way and call it in, that’s what I’d do.
6. Review Your Insurance Coverage – eliminate the surprises and review your insurance coverage as soon as possible so you won’t be caught off guard if something is not covered. Check to see if things such as towing or rental cars are part of your policy. If not, you can check to see how much more it would cost to have these on your policy. Sometimes it just a matter of a few bucks more a month, if that’s worth it to you.
We hope that you never have to use these tips, but if so, we hope you find them useful.