At one time or another most people will be involved in some type of car accident. Car accidents happen when you least expect it, and after a car accident you may not be able to think clearly.
From reporting the car accident to dealing with insurancecompanies, knowing the proper steps to take can help get you back on the road quickly and smoothly. If you are in an accident that was caused by someone else, you will still need to report the accident to your own insurance company so it can settle the claim with the other person’s insurance company. If the accident was not your fault, your insurance rates should not be affected by the claim.
See our 8 essential steps to take after a car accident –
1) Pull over – If you can, pull your car over to the side of the road to avoid oncoming traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and set up emergency cones or triangles so other drivers can see you.
2) Check for injuries – Check if you or your passengers sustained injuries immediately after a car accident. If anyone is injured – however minor – call 108 for an ambulance right away. Consider keeping a first aid kit in your car to help you after an auto accident.
3) Call the police – Always call the police to report the car accident. While you’re waiting for an officer to arrive on the scene, you can exchange information with the other driver, find witnesses and document details of the accident. Stay at the scene of the accident until law enforcement has gotten your statement, and be sure to record the name of the officer that took the report.
4) Exchange information – Exchange information with the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident. Be sure to get the his or her name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, vehicle identification number (VIN), insurance company name, and policy number. You may also want to record the make and model of the vehicle.
5) Don’t admit fault – After a car accident, it’s important to remember not to admit fault to the other driver or discuss the details of the accident. You should only discuss this information with the police and your insurance company. Your insurance company will use information gathered from all parties to determine the cause of the accident.
6) Find witnesses – If possible, find witnesses to the accident and get their name and contact information. The police will take witness statements to help them get a clear picture of what happened.
7) Document the accident – Take notes on any details you can remember right after an auto accident like the time of day – such information may be difficult to recall later. Also, be sure to take pictures of the accident site with your cell phone or camera, including both vehicles and the damage sustained. When taking pictures, capture license plate numbers of any vehicles involved.
8) Contact your insurance company – The next thing you need to do is report the car accident to your insurance company, regardless of whether it was a fender bender or something more serious. Depending on the amount of damage, you may decide to pay for repairs out-of-pocket. However, you still need to call your insurance company to give them your account of what happened, which is especially helpful if the other party involved is dishonest.
If you need help remembering what to do after a car accident, consider keeping this list in your glove compartment. Also, keep your car insurance up-to-date. Extra damages may be payable by the other party’s insurance company. Most importantly, if you have a “serious” and “permanent” injury, you may qualify for damages for your pain and suffering. In some of these cases, your immediate family members may have claims too.
Keep in mind that most lay people do not know what a serious and permanent injury is– it is a legal test, after all. If you have doubts about whether you have a claim for damages after an accident, get the advice of a personal injury lawyer.
Also see – Indian Traffic Fines and Punishment