What To Do If You Are Involved In An Accident

Approximately one in ten people will be involved in an auto accident this year. It is hard to think clearly after an accident so you must be prepared to act intelligently. What you do and say can have an impact on the outcome of the accident.

Advance Preparation:

Always drive defensively, wear your seatbelt, and make sure small children are in approved car seats.

Make sure you have your auto insurance card available in your vehicle. You must provide this information in the event of an accident.

Carry a writing pad and pencil in your vehicle so you can sketch the accident scene. Even better, have a disposable camera or cell phone with a camera so you can take your own pictures of the accident scene.

Make sure you carry safety flares so you can warn oncoming vehicles.

Carry a first aid kit to take care of minor injuries or assist at an accident you encounter.

After an Accident:

You must always stop if you have an accident whether the accident involves another car, a pedestrian, or a parked car or property. Failure to stop means you can be charged with hit and run even if the accident wasn't your fault.

Turn off the vehicle - leaving it where it is. If you think it is in danger of being hit by other moving traffic, drive slowly to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard blinkers and set out flares, if necessary.

Call 911 and give the exact location of the accident. Be sure to state whether you need an ambulance or fire engine. If you don’t have a cell phone or have no cellular reception, flag down a passing vehicle and ask the driver to call or go for help. Even if the accident is minor, it should be reported to the police.

If you are injured, stay in your vehicle until professional help arrives.

If another driver was involved, you must exchange information with that driver. Exchange name, address, phone number and driver’s license number; the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car; insurance company’s name, address and policy number; and the name and address of the vehicle’s owner if you are driving someone else’s vehicle. You must leave this information in a conspicuous place before leaving the scene if you hit a parked vehicle or other property and cannot locate the owner.

Don’t argue with the other vehicle’s occupants. Be polite even if you are angry. Do not admit the accident was your fault. The police will take statements from both you and the other vehicle’s occupants.

Cooperate fully and truthfully with the police, but contact your insurance agent before accepting blame for the accident. You may think you are to blame but find out later that the other driver was as much or more to blame than you were. State only the facts because anything you say to the police or other driver can be used against you later.

Notify your insurance agent about the accident immediately.

Draw a diagram of the accident scene or if you have a camera, take pictures of the vehicles and the scene. Include street and road signs, traffic lights and stop signs, positions of the vehicles, and skid marks if there are any. Note weather and road conditions and record the exact date, time and place the accident happened. If there are any witnesses, get their names and other information and record what they recall about the accident.

If you are given a ticket, you should sign it or you could be arrested. You are only agreeing to pay the ticket later or promising to appear in court to contest it. Do not agree to pay for damages or sign any other paper until you contact your insurance agent or lawyer.

If you are near home, it helps to know in advance where you would prefer to have your vehicle towed for repair.

If your vehicle is being towed, make sure you have collected all your personal items and anything you may need while your vehicle is being repaired.

In case of an accident you need to be prepared for any situation. Planning in advance and remaining calm after an accident can save you many financial, insurance, and medical headaches afterward.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks. That's a lot of good information.

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