Had An Accident? Here’s A Complete Checklist of What To Do After A Car Accident


by Contributor

(Jun. 26, 2019) — Had an accident and not sure what to do next? Here’s a complete checklist of everything you need to do after you’ve had a car accident.

Approximately 1.25 million people perish in road accidents annually. Another 20 to 50 million people have had an accident and sustained injuries or become disabled. Automobiles are a way of life in most places across the globe, and accidents are bound to happen.

Car accidents can happen even to the best drivers. Immediately after the accident, you’ll likely become shocked, dizzy, or enraged at the happenings.

When you’ve had a car accident, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. Firstly, try to remain as calm as possible, although this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Take a deep breath to shift your focus from the trauma to what you need to do next.

  1. Stop at the Scene of the Accident

The worst you can do after an accident is to try to escape, whether you’re at fault or not. If you’re in a position to, call the police immediately.

  1. Assess the Extent of Damage

Immediately after getting a hold of yourself, check if anyone has been injured. If there are casualties, call an ambulance and the police. If there are no injuries, you still need to call the police, especially if anyone becomes confrontational.

The advantage of calling the police is that you’ll have an official report to present to the insurance company. If an officer isn’t sent to the scene depending on your city, ensure you file your statement with them.

  1. Protect the Scene

Other oncoming drivers may not be aware that there’s an accident ahead. For this reason, set up flares or keep your flashers on. This will prevent other cars from slamming into yours from behind.

If your car lights have been damaged and aren’t working, use a flashlight to keep you safe as you wait for the police. You can wait inside the car or by the side of the road if the area is safe.

  1. Take Pictures and Make a Record

As you wait for the police, take pictures of the accident scene. Take photos of all the vehicles involved and any injuries sustained by any of the people involved. However, don’t interfere with any of the police findings at any point.

Once the police arrive, give them a clear report of what happened. Don’t make out a story or leave out essential details. If you’re asked about any injuries you’ve sustained but aren’t sure, say you’re unsure.

In most cases, pain from motor accidents becomes apparent way later after the incident. Check that the statements made by the other people involved in the crash are also accurate.

In documenting the accident, the police will ask you for details like your name and insurance information. They’ll also want to see your license.

Most insurance companies advise their clients not to admit liability when they’ve had an accident. Overall, limit what you say to the other party involved in the accident. Only give details to the police, your insurance representative, or medical professionals if they’re on the scene.

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company

It’s ideal to notify your insurance company or agent while still at the accident scene. Sometimes, they’ll send a representative to come to check your claims.

You’ll need to determine the applicable insurance coverage. The process of claiming depends on who’s at fault, and the type of coverage the drivers hold. If you’re at fault in this case, here’s a breakdown of the insurance claims.

  1. Medical bills for the other driver. These will be provided to the limits of your bodily injury coverage.
  2. Medical payments for your injuries
  3. Property damage liability for the other driver’s car.
  4. Coverage for your car
  5. Emergency roadside service. This is optional but may be of help if you need to tow your vehicle to the mechanic.
  6. Temporary transportation for the period your car will be undergoing repair services. For this coverage, you’ll probably need to have collision and comprehensive coverage.

You need to decide whether to file a claim or not. You may choose to pay the other driver out of pocket if the damage looks minor. Remember that the more claims you make, the higher your rates will go.

When the Accident Isn’t Your Fault

If you’re not at fault in an accident, the other driver’s insurance should step up. However, you may still be able to use your insurance upfront for

I). Collision Coverage

When you file a claim, you’ll get faster service, but you’ll also have to pay a deductible. After getting reimbursement from the other company, your insurance company will refund the deductible. However, this can take months, and it’s not a guarantee you’ll get it.

II). Medical Payments Coverage

The other driver’s insurance company will investigate whether their client was at fault. If they were, you’ll be asked to get a repair estimate. Alternatively, an adjuster will establish the extent of the damage. The company will cover your medical costs unless you reside in a no-fault state.

The reimbursement you get will only be up to the liability coverage limits.

  1. Protect Your Rights

While there’s so much requiring your attention after you’ve had an accident, don’t forget your lawyer. Consulting your attorney will go a long way in protecting your rights. They’ll ensure valuable evidence from the crash isn’t destroyed or compromised.

It’s highly advisable to receive legal advice before you record your statement with the police. Your attorney will advise you on how to get full compensation as well as get the best medical care.

Had An Accident?  – Take Away

If you’ve had an accident, it’s essential to know the immediate action to take. Depending on how bad the accident is, there are various outcomes you can expect. Among the things you shouldn’t do are admitting liability and running away from the accident scene.

Immediately after the accident, maintain calmness and assess the extent of the damage. Secure the area to prevent more accidents. Call the police, notify your insurance agent, and contact your attorney.

Once the accident has been documented, have your car repaired and get yourself medically checked. Once everything is settled, and you’re back on the road, strive to remain safe.

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