Getting into a fender-bender or a more serious accident is already stressful. You might be worried about someone being injured, damage to vehicles with all the inconvenience associated with it, and, of course, insurance rates going up. With all these things going through your mind after an accident, it can be challenging to get everything in order. You can take several steps to ensure safety and reduce your potential losses after an accident.
1- Do Not Move Your Vehicles
The only time you should move your vehicles after you get in a wreck is if not doing so would somehow put parties at a higher safety risk. The reason you want your cars to remain where they are as closely as possible is so that the responding police officer can piece together how the accident occurred. Allowing word-of-mouth reporting from the other driver may not be the best idea, because they may falsely report what happened wither knowingly or simply due to confusion.
2- Provide Clearance
If you have road flares, emergency cones, or anything of the sort, place them at least fifty feet back from the scene of the accident to give other vehicles a full warning that something has happened and they need to go around you. Do this for both directions of traffic if it’s necessary. In busy traffic, this may not be possible, but you should at least attempt to protect the accident scene however you can. This helps to prevent more damage or injury, and it makes it easier for the responding officer to work.
3- Take Photos
Keep your cell phone charged and ready to take photos of the accident. You will likely need proof to show your insurance company, or the other driver’s if they are covering the cost of repairs. Make sure you get a wide shot and a shot of the point of collision. You always want to have at least those two photos. If there are any other pertinent photos, take them. Get shots of both your vehicle and the other vehicle, just in case the other driver tries to claim damages that you did not cause.
4- Do Not Admit Fault
Never, under any circumstances, state that an accident was your fault or that you could have been responsible. If you are in an at-fault accident, not only do your insurance rates likely increase, but you may get a traffic citation and points on your driver’s license. When the police officer arrives on the scene, present your version of events as calmly and factually as possible. Don’t get overly emotional, because it can turn an already tense situation worse. In fact, it’s probably best not to say anything other than what’s necessary to provide information or to check for injuries.
5- Obtain Information Immediately
While you and the other driver are waiting for the police to arrive, exchange your insurance and contact information. Don’t rely on the police report to provide that information, especially if the accident involves a parked vehicle. An accident involving a parked vehicle may not list the owner of the vehicle, making it more difficult to find the report. In addition, if you wait too long to file a claim, your claim may be denied. Write down the driver’s name, telephone number, insurance company, policy number, and the make and model of his vehicle.
By remembering these steps, you can ensure that all your bases are covered when you get into a car accident. You have to keep calm and follow each step to the best of your ability. Be prepared and keep a first-aid kit in your car to help treat any injuries. Keep the telephone numbers of nearby mechanics, towing services, and other necessary contact information saved in your phone.