According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), automobile accidents claimed the lives of 37,461 people in the United States in 2016. Texas had the most fatalities with California and Florida coming in second and third based on statistics. Car accidents, although not always fatal, can significantly change a person’s life particularly if they are injured, disabled or forced to pay damages to other motorists and their passengers.
If you’re involved in an accident, it’s important to keep your cool. Check on the other passengers in your vehicle to make sure that they don’t require medical care. If the crash has caused no injuries, it’s time to take action.
Here are the five steps that need to be taken after a car accident according to major insurance companies:
- Move to an area that is away from traffic if possible. Esurance recommends doing this to prevent you from being struck again by other motorists. Turn on your hazard lights and have everyone occupying the vehicle exit it and stand a good distance away from the automobile.
- Notify the police and ask an officer to come to fill out a report. Be cooperative and thorough in your answers. A police report is needed when filling out an insurance claim and seeking damages from an at-fault driver.
- Start taking notes before law enforcement arrives. Get the name of the driver and passengers in the other vehicle as well as license plate numbers, insurance details, the make and model of the cars involved in the accident, witness contact information, and the location the accident occurred.
- Take clear photos of the vehicles as well as street signs especially if the accident took place at an intersection. Some insurance company apps like Esurance’s allow you to take photos of the scene and upload them immediately. The time-saving feature is valuable after a distressing accident.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim. Call the number listed on your insurance card or submit information through an app or company website. Make sure to include as many details as possible to be noted on your account.
Now that you know what to do in the event of an accident, you won’t make the same mistakes that many people do when they fail to gather evidence at the scene. As long as you are uninjured, you’ll be able to do so with greater ease provided that you have something like a notepad and pen or smartphone to record details with. You’ll even be able to snap photographs of both vehicles before the other motorist leaves the scene which can help build your case if you weren’t at fault.