On average, we have an accident about once every seven years. Some folks a bit more often, while others might go decades or even a lifetime without an incident. What to do after an auto accident?
One thing is for certain: we can‘t plan when an accident might happen. However, it‘s important to know what to do if today isn‘t your lucky day and you‘re involved in a fender bender.
Even in an accident without any injuries, the experience can be unsettling. If anyone is injured, call the police right away. Getting medical attention for anyone who needs help is more important than anything else. Don‘t try to move anyone who is injured; they may also have internal injuries or injuries that can be aggravated by movement.
If the damage looks significant or if you suspect the other driver of being under the influence, call the authorities. The police will collect information from both parties.
Exit your car only when safe. Don‘t expect traffic to yield to your opening car door. Accidents can be disruptive to traffic flow and other drivers may not have time to avoid a car door opening into their path.
If you have a digital camera or a camera phone, take pictures of the accident, including any damage to either car and a wide view picture of the scene, if it‘s possible to do so safely. Move your car to the side of the road when it is safe to do so and if your car cannot be driven, put on your flashers.
Exchange insurance information with the other driver. You‘ll need their name and contact information as well as their license plate number, insurance company name, and their insurance policy number. Be respectful and don‘t place blame or accept responsibility. Accidents happen quickly and sometimes there are other contributing factors that may not be immediately obvious. The insurance companies will conduct their own investigation into who is at fault.
Call your broker or your insurer as soon as possible following the accident. Your broker can guide your next steps, including towing, repairs, auto rentals, or any other accident-related services you might require.
Accidents can happen to anyone and most of us will be involved in an auto accident at some point in our lives. If you know what to do after an auto accident, you‘ll feel much calmer and you‘ll be able to collect the information needed without missing a beat.