Having a motor vehicle crash is never a planned event. Accident scenes can be chaotic with high levels of anxiety and worry. Yet being prepared and knowing what to do at the scene can make a big difference in how easily your insurance claim will be handled. Here are some important tips and reminders:
Stay calm. Getting upset only makes a bad situation more difficult. Maintain your composure even if the other person does not.
Check for injuries and call the police. Even if the accident is minor call the police. Notify them of injuries so that they can call for medical assistance.
Don’t move an injured person — unless they are in immediate danger.
Don’t leave the scene of an accident. Even if the other driver says it’s okay, they could later file for injuries or you could be accused of a hit and run. Wait for the police to arrive and let them tell you when you can leave.
Try to protect the scene of the accident. Don’t move your vehicle unless it impedes traffic or it’s necessary to prevent further damage. (Have a kit with emergency cones, triangles, or flares.)
Don’t blame the accident on anyone — including yourself. Even if you might be at fault, do not say so to anyone. Give your full description of the accident only to the police officer.
Exchange information with the other driver. This includes:
- the license plate number, make, model & color of other vehicles
- names & addresses of all drivers/passengers
- driver’s license numbers (note if driver is different from vehicle owner.
- insurance company information.
- name and address of witnesses.
Use your smart phone. Capture the following if possible:
- take photos of the scene including any skid marks or gouge marks
- take photos of the damaged vehicles including, if possible, any interior damage
- take a video or audio statement from witnesses, get their contact information
- take photographs or video of any related traffic lights to document their function
Ask the officer how you can get a copy of the policy report. Get the accident report as soon as possible and review it for accuracy.
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