If you’ve ever been in an accident, you may recall scrambling to try to figure out what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. A vehicle accident is never a pleasant experience for anyone involved. Nevertheless, as you make the first report of a claim, you can alleviate some of the confusion that can often surface after an accident by keeping a few tips in mind.
- Do not, under any circumstance, sign any document at the scene unless it is for the police or other such authority.
- Make notes about the accident, including all names of parties involved and witnesses.
- Often times, the driver can differ from the registered owner. Therefore, be sure to write down both names. It’s important to get this information directly from the parties involved because the police will not release it to you at the scene. This means you’ll have to wait days for an accident report in order to obtain such information.
- Stay as calm as possible and be cordial, but refrain from admitting fault or responsibility.
- Stick to just the facts. Be careful not to utter speculations or opinions to others involved about the accident; keep the conversation limited to obtaining personal contact and vehicle information. Your discussions of the accident itself should be limited to the police and your insurance company.
- Take photos. With today’s technology incorporating high-resolution cameras in all smartphones, there’s little reason to not take photos at the scene. If there are no injuries, go ahead and photograph the positions of all vehicles in the crash. A cellphone camera is also the quickest and easiest method of obtaining vehicle information such as make, model, and the license plate.
- If there are no injuries and/or if the accident is minor, it’s quite all right to move the vehicles off to the side after you take photos of the vehicle positions. There is no need to impede traffic if it is avoidable.
In the aftermath of an accident, many things can be confusing, especially if you’ve never had the misfortune of being involved in one. By keeping these tips in mind, and maybe an accident tip sheet in your car, you can help avoid complications and confusion when the claim is reported. These tips may also assist your claims representative in establishing what happened in the accident during their investigation. Remember, nearly all accidents are preventable so please drive safely. Do you have any additional tips for what do to after an accident you’d like to share?