Although no two auto accidents are alike, there are preparation and post-accident steps that every driver should take — Here’s what you need to know:
Before an auto accident…
Remember ABP: Always Be Prepared.
- Print a copy of your insurance to keep handy
- Stash a copy of your insurance card and registration in your vehicle.
- Keep a camera handy to document any post-accident damage. If you don’t have a phone that could be used for this purpose, consider spending a few dollars on a disposable camera to keep in your vehicle.
After an auto accident…
Ask yourself: Is anyone hurt? If so, immediately contact emergency services for help.
Always call the police, no matter the severity of the accident. If the accident is minor, you may be asked to file a police report on your own, which you should do.
Get out of the way, if you can.
- If the vehicles are drivable, move them to a spot on the shoulder or otherwise out of the way of traffic.
- Turn on your hazard lights and set up emergency cones, if you have them.
- Get out of the vehicle, unless it is unsafe to do so.
Record all the details.
- Ask other drivers to share their details, too. That information will be needed once fault and financial responsibility are established. Make sure to record if they are the car owners.
- Take notes about what you remember of the accident, and take photos, too.
- Ask for and keep a copy of the police report.
What happens next:
Call your insurance company to begin the claims process. Coverage levels and determination of fault will help outline who is financially responsible for repairs and other costs, including medical bills.
What you should never do:
- Don’t try to assign blame.
- Don’t sign anything from anyone other than the police.
- Don’t leave the scene.