Every year, more than six million car accidents occur in the United States, some causing no damage at all and others leading to property damage, serious injury, or even fatalities. Trying to figure out what to do when an accident has already occurred can be challenging, especially in such stressful and emotional circumstances. While we hope that you’ll never find yourself involved in one of these accidents, it’s important that you know the right steps to take if you do.
Once you know that everybody involved in the accident is safe, call 911 to report the accident. Follow any instructions provided by the dispatcher.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Whenever it’s practical, call your insurance agent. He or she can walk you through the next steps, tell you exactly what to expect when law enforcement arrives, and provide guidance for gathering the right information on the scene. Follow the instructions provided to you by your insurance agent.
Document the Accident
It’s important to get as much information as you can while still on the scene of the accident. It can be hard to track down important details once the mess is cleaned up and drivers and witnesses part ways. The most important things to find out and write down include:
- the names and contact information (phone number, mailing address) of those who witnessed the accident
- the names, contact information (phone number, mailing address), and insurance information of any other driver involved in the collision as well as the names of any passengers in their vehicle
- the details surrounding what happened; writing out a narrative of exactly what happened as you recall it can be especially helpful during the claims process
- photographs of the location of the accident, the damage to any property or vehicle that occurred, and other key pieces of information
During this time, work to manage your emotions and stay level-headed. Avoid admitting fault or discussing the details of the accident with parties other than the police officer who reports to the scene and your insurance agent or his or her team members. Be polite to those involved.
Once the police arrive at the scene of the accident, answer their questions as accurately as you can. Never admit fault; emotions often lead drivers to take responsibility for accidents they were involved in, and these admissions can become part of the police report and skew the investigation. In many cases, a driver who thinks they were at fault may not be at fault once an investigation is conducted.
Your insurance agent is your biggest advocate in the accident investigation and claims process, so involving your insurance agency early is in your best interest. They will walk you through the process of filing a claim, scheduling repairs, and seeking treatment if necessary, as well as ensure any civil suits that result are handled promptly. To learn more about your auto insurance options in the Rolling Meadows, IL, area, request a quote from AFI Insurance online today.