Steps to Take if You are In a Car Accident

Car crashes are scary. They take a toll on us both physically and emotionally. Whether you’re in a minor crash or a serious collision, it can be difficult to think and make decisions quickly. However, if you are prepared and educate yourself ahead of time, you’ll know what to do, and how you can make things just a bit easier as you recover.

1. See if anyone is hurt.

Safety is always the number one priority when you are in a car accident. Assess yourself and those around you to see if anyone is hurt. Sometimes the shock of an accident can mask an injury. Even if you do not believe you are hurt, take caution when getting out of your vehicle. Do not leave the scene of an accident, even if it’s a minor fender bender. 

2. Get your car out of danger (if possible.)

If you are not injured, and it is safe to do so, move your car from the road. Put your flashers on and set up flares if you have them. This will let other drivers know to slow down. When standing outside, stand on the outside of your vehicle avoiding oncoming traffic.

3. Call the police.

Regardless of the extent of the crash, call 911. When the police arrive, write down the officer’s name, badge number, and contact information for your records. The officer on the scene will guide you through what to do next. Before the officer leaves the scene, request a copy of the incident report.

Be aware that some police departments are transitioning to online reporting if you are in a car accident, depending on the severity. Your 911 call handler will alert you if this is the case in your area.

4. Collect Information.

Use your smartphone to your advantage. Rather than writing down information with a pen and paper, take pictures of documents, of your cars, and the scene.

Be sure to collect the following information:

  • Date and time of accident
  • Street names
  • Drivers license
  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • If they are not the owner of the vehicle, what’s the relationship to the owner?
  • Vehicle information: year, make, model, color, license plate number, VIN
  • Insurance phone number and policy number
  • Witness contact information (if applicable)
  • Witness testimonial (if applicable) 
  • Car damage
  • Property damage
  • Skid marks on road
  • Direction of cars relative to the street
  • Dictate to your phone the details of the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind

5. Avoid Discussion.

Emotions run high at the scene of a crash. Avoid discussion of responsibility with the other driver. Once you collect the information you need, wait to speak to authorities about your recollection of the accident. 

6. Call your insurance company and download their app.

Call your insurance company to discuss the next steps. Start the process of filing a claim. Ask them about next steps including where to tow your car, what information you need to prepare, what does your insurance cover, and how this will affect your insurance. Be prepared to provide the details you collected early to the insurance company.

7. Call a tow truck if you need.

Once you speak with the police and are ready to remove your vehicle from the scene, call AAA if you are a member, or a tow truck. Wait with your vehicle until the tow truck company arrives, and speak with the driver to ensure the vehicle is going to where you need it to go.

8. See a doctor.

If you do not require immediate medical attention, we still recommend monitoring how you feel over the next several days. Injuries like whiplash and back pain can take a few days to settle in once all the adrenaline of the collision has worn off. See a medical provider if you have any concerns, no matter how small. If you see your doctor, be sure to obtain records of your visit. 

Sign Up For POM Vault today – Before You Are in a Car Accident

As you can see, a car accident can require a number of documents that you may not always have on hand. Imagine if with the click of a button you could access your insurance policy number, contact information, VIN number, AAA account information, and upload all the photos you take immediately to a custom folder. It would certainly take a lot of weight off your shoulders during a stressful time. Check out POM Vault today and prepare yourself, and your family, for any unexpected emergencies.

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