Getting into an accident can feel catastrophic, especially when somebody is hurt, or you feel like you were at fault. Our goal at Long & Company, Inc. is to provide you with all the information and guidance you need to navigate the aftermath of a crash confidently (and of course, we hope you never crash).
Put Safety First
First, make an effort to ensure safety by turning on flashers and moving your vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic if possible. Turn off your engine. Instruct the other driver to do the same if you’re able to.
Call for Help
Call 911 (or a non-emergency number if you have one and nobody is injured) to let them know that there’s been an accident. They’ll need to know some necessary information about the accident to respond accordingly, so be prepared to answer questions. The dispatcher might also give you instructions to ensure your safety as well as the safety of other motorists, follow his or her instructions, and don’t hang up until they end the call.
Notify Your Agent
Let your insurance agent know what happened as soon as you can. He or she knows better than anyone what kind of information will be most important in processing your claim and can give you clear instructions for gathering that information, protecting yourself, and taking care of next steps like roadside assistance if you need it.
Collect Important Information
Get the names and contact information for any other drivers and passengers involved in the accident as well as insurance information from drivers. Write down the name and contact information of anybody who witnessed the accident and stopped at the scene in case there are questions for witnesses later. Write down the officer’s name, who reported to the scene.
Consider taking photos of the vehicles involved in the accident, the scene of the accident, and any visible damage. If you have any injuries, you should photograph those as well.
Assist with the Report
Answer the police officer’s questions with facts; don’t share that you believe you were at fault as it might hinder the investigation and leave you liable before all of the evidence has been examined.
Most importantly, stay calm.
Although it’s very common to be afraid you might get in trouble or worry about your insurance premiums, you should always, always stop and always file a police report. The outcome will always be best if you’re honest and follow the right steps to report the accident.
Don’t approach the other driver when you’re feeling emotional – whether it’s guilt or anger. Leave it to the police to determine who is at fault. Don’t blame the other driver or take blame yourself. The events leading up to an accident can be very complicated and you would rarely have the full picture immediately following the collision; perhaps the other driver was under the influence and you were unaware, for example.
To learn more about finding the right agent and the right car insurance policy, request a free quote from the team at Long & Company.