Legal Guide

Past Car Accident Tips And Advice

After a car accident, you have to follow some steps to ensure that you get your insurance claim process started as early as possible, and with the observation of all legal requirements.

This is a step by step guide from Hankey Law Office to help you make the right decisions following a car accident you've been involved in, whether you were at fault or not.

Step 1: Get Checked For Injuries

If you're injured, call 911 or ask someone else to do it for you. In case of severe injuries, don't move and don't allow anyone to move you. Just wait for the emergency team.

Step 2: Check The Health Situation Of Your Passengers

If you're able to move, check on your passengers to see how they are doing. If any of them is injured, call 911 immediately or ask someone else to do it.

Step 3: Ensure You Are Safe

If possible, move to a sidewalk or to the side of the road. If your car can still move and it seem safe to drive it, move it somewhere else, outside of the road. If you can't move the car, leave it there, but seek to get yourself to safety.

Step 4: Cal 911

In the event of a car accident. it is very important to call the police. In some states, this is even mandatory by law. The officers will fill out a report and will document the scene. If no police team can come to you, you can go to a station nearby and write the report yourself, in accordance with the Insurance Information Institute. Your insurer may ask for a copy of the police report in order to start the claim process.

Step 5: Wait For Help

Turn off the engine and all lights. Also, use the road flares in the emergency kit to warn other vehicles that they need to drive carefully.

Step 6: Talk With The Other Driver

After checking that you and all of your passengers are fine, exchange contact details and insurance information with the other driver. The III considers that exchanging the following information is the most important:

- Full name and contact details

- Insurance policy number and name of the insurer

- License plate number

- Driver's license number

- Make, model and color of the vehicle

- Location of the accident

According to the III, it's best to avoid discussing fault with the other driver. Just acknowledge the facts and exchange the information mentioned above. Your adjuster will determine who's at fault for the accident, based on a thorough inspection of all vehicles involved and on any supporting documents such as photos from the scene and the police report.

Step 7: Document Your Accident

Here are a few steps that can help you protect yourself (according to the III):

- Identify the police officers - Get the name and the badge number of all officers that come to document your accident

- Get a copy of the accident report - Ask the police officers what you should do to obtain a copy of the accident report. Your insurance company may need a copy when you file a claim, so make sure you have this copy just in case.

- Take photos - Document the accident by taking exhaustive photos of your vehicle, using different angles, and showing the damage to all cars involved. Also, it might be a good idea to take photos of the license plates of the aforementioned cars. Your insurer may want to use these photos in the claim process.

- Write down names - Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved in the accident. Also include the passengers in the other cars.

- Talk to witnesses - If there were people witnessing the accident, write down their names, addresses and contact information, as well.

If you fear you may not remember all of these, print a copy of this list and keep it in your vehicle.

Step 8: Notify Your Insurance Company And Start The Claim Process

If you can, call your insurance agent right there, while you are at the scene of the event. This is the best way to ensure you provide them with accurate details of the accident. You'll be able to offer all information required in the claim process, in order to maximize your chances to receive your compensation.

An accident is a major life event. Even the toughest driver can be affected. However, following these steps may help you stay away from problems during the insurance claim processing.

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