Getting into a car accident is never on anyone’s agenda for the day, but unfortunately things happen. Regardless of the cause of the collision, certain steps should occur directly following the incident.
Once you determine that you did not suffer any major injuries, you should begin the process of documenting the scene. Follow these three steps to help get your accident claim off on the right foot.
1. Call the police
The very first thing you should do is call the local police. Even in a simple fender-bender, a police cruiser may respond. Dispatch will inform you if the accident is too minor for an officer to report, but if you have issues with the other driver, let them know. They will send someone if there is a possibility of a further incident.
2. Take photos of everything
After emerging from your vehicle and checking on the other people involved, you should begin taking photos of the scene. Insurance companies will want to have a good idea of how the cars came to rest, what the area is like around the scene and what type of damage the vehicles sustained. If possible, take pictures of the exact location of the crash prior to moving the cars. Sometimes the area is too dangerous to leave the cars resting for long, so fire off just a shot or two at least.
3. Exchange information
Your insurance company is going to want to know details about the other vehicle’s driver. The best way to give that information to them is by getting it from the other person. Some people will very quickly offer up their driver’s license and insurance information without any hesitation. Others, however, will not want to hand it over for one reason or another. Either wait for the police to get there in this circumstance, or take pictures of the license plate and the VIN number to help identify the owner.
You may wind up at the hospital a day or two later with injuries caused by the accident. Spine and brain injuries can seem like minor aches and pains at first, but symptoms such as neck pain and headaches often increase with time. It is critical that you provide all of the relevant information to the insurance company to aid in your recovery if warranted.