A car accident—even a relatively minor one—is a stressful experience for everyone involved. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and confused after a collision, but it’s important that you stay calm.
There are a number of critical post-crash steps you need to keep in mind—steps that can help get your insurance in order or even save a life:
1. Stop Your Vehicle. If you’re involved in an accident and don’t stop, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
2. Determine the Extent of Damage or Injuries. Check to see if anyone needs urgent medical care. If you can, try not to move the vehicles unless they are causing a major problem with traffic. If possible wait for the police before moving anything.
3. Contact the Police. Call the authorities if any of the following scenarios occur:
- You or someone else is injured
- You suspect one of the other drivers may be guilty of a criminal offense (such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol)
- There is significant damage to property or the vehicles
- Any of the vehicles involved in the crash are not drivable
- You suspect you are the victim of a staged accident
4. Follow the instructions given to you by the 911 operator. Police or emergency personnel will arrive as soon as possible. Don’t try to move anyone injured in the accident, as you may aggravate their injuries.
5. If it’s safe to do so, get out of your car. If possible, take pictures of the scene, your vehicle, and your injuries.
6. When it’s safe, move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of traffic. If your vehicle cannot be driven, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares, as appropriate.
7. Limit Your Conversation about the Accident with the Other Party. It’s important to limit your discussion of the accident and not to admit any fault or liability. You should only talk about the accident with the police, medical professionals and your insurance representative.
8. Record as much information about the accident as possible. Be sure to include:
- Names, address, and phone numbers of everyone involved
- Description of the car(s)—including license plate and VIN numbers
- The other party’s insurance company information.
- DO NOT share your driver’s license with anyone other than the police—or allow anyone to take photos of your license—as this could put you at risk for identity theft.
9. Call your insurance company or Forest Agency Insurance as soon as possible after the accident. Inform your insurer of what happened and ask for next steps.
Forest Agency is here to help. Please contact us for experienced answers to your insurance–related questions or to learn more about the best coverage for your auto, home, life, and business.