What to Do at the Scene of an Accident
Following a car accident, you may have series of questions that come at once: if I move my car what happens? Do I call an officer first? When should I tell my insurance broker or agent? Here is a series 7 things you should do:
STEP 1: DON’T PANIC
Following an accident, some enter into a state of shock and thinking clearly can be difficult. Remember: don’t panic. Do one thing at a time and you will be all right.
STEP 2: CONFIRM FOR INJURIES
Check for injuries. If you are injured, call 911 or ask another person at the scene of the accident to do so. If you are not injured, check on your passengers but remember not to move injured persons unless you need to remove them from immediate danger. You could make their injuries worse.
STEP 3: BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
The most important thing is to get to safety while being aware of approaching vehicles. Turn on your hazard lights to warn other vehicles to slow down. If you're able to, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road. If not, keep your car where it is and simply get yourself to safety.
STEP 4: CALL EMERGENCY SERVICES
If damage appears to be over $1000 or if injuries are involved, call the police. If in doubt, it is best to call. If the police can't come to the scene of the accident, you can either go to the nearest police station or collision reporting centre and complete a report yourself.
STEP 5: DO NOT ADMIT ANY FAULT FOR AN ACCIDENT
Don’t discuss the accident with anyone other than an officer or your insurance representative. Never admit fault for the accident. This will be determined by the authorities.
STEP 6: DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT
The best way to protect yourself following an accident is to document the damage done to the vehicles in the accident and their license plate(s) by taking pictures. Ensure to speak to any witnesses at the accident before they leave the scene and take down their names and contact information. Identify the name and badge number of the police officer at the scene and request where you can obtain a copy of the policy report. Write down the names, phone number and addresses of the persons/passengers involved in the accident and their insurance company/policy number. Document the exact scene of the accident for future reference as well.
STEP 7: NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
It may be in your best interest to contact your insurance agent or broker while you are at the scene so they can coach you through anything you might have missed in the previous six steps. You may want to call your insurance agent while you're at the scene. Your insurance representative can also help you know the next steps in the claims process such as getting a temporary replacement vehicle and when an adjuster will be in contact with you to confirm additional accident details.
If you follow these steps, you are guaranteed to have your claim go much smoother. If you have any questions or to have me send you a condensed list of these 7 steps to put in your glove box to keep in case of an accident, give me a call at (519) 393-3246. I would be happy to discuss!