A traffic accident wrecks more than just your car, truck or other vehicle. An accident can wreck your nerves, too. It’s not something you necessarily want to think about, but absolutely everyone needs to. The average number of car accidents in the U.S. every year is 6 million, and more than 90 people die in car accidents every day. Because of those statistics, you most likely are going to experience an accident at least once in your lifetime, even if it’s minor. When it happens, you need to be ready. Try to keep a cool head and follow this checklist, step-by-step.
Check for Injuries
Hopefully, you have your phone with you, or you are with someone who does. If you or anyone else in the vehicle is injured even slightly, call 911 immediately. Even if it’s something that seems minor at first, you could be far more hurt than you realize. Do NOT take any chances with your own or someone else’s physical health. If you experience even just a little pain, report it.
Move to Safety
Can your vehicle still move? If so, try to pull it over to the side of the road, even if your steering wheel offers resistance. This is especially imperative if the accident took place along a busy highway. The last thing you want is to be an obstruction to oncoming cars that could hit you again, risking even further injury and damage. If you’re not in the way of traffic, take a breath and check yourself again for injury. If you’re physically able to move, carefully exit your vehicle while checking for cars before opening your door. If you carry flares, safety cones, or other road safety gear, now is the time to deploy them, if you’re able to.
Call the Police
At this point, even if you’re uninjured, you should still get the police involved. A police accident report is extremely useful when dealing with your car insurance company and other drivers. When the police arrive, do NOT assign blame OR admit fault. Cooperate fully with the officer(s) on the scene, answer their questions to the best of your ability, and let them do their job to remain objective.
Get as much information as possible from the other party involved in the accident. You should record the following:
- Full name and contact information of all drivers and passengers
- Drivers license number of the other driver
- License plate number of all vehicles involved
- Make, model, and color of all vehicles involved
- Accident location
- Eyewitness contact info, if anyone else happened to be nearby
- Name and badge number of responding officer(s)
Now is the time to photograph the scene of the accident and any damage from as many angles as possible - both exterior and interior, if you’re able. Make sure to photograph all vehicles involved, as well as their license plates. All of this will help you with your claim.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once the police allow you to and you’ve collected your wits, you should give your insurance company a call even while you’re still at the scene. They can calmly walk you through your checklist and point out anything you might have missed while you were understandably upset. It’s best to do this while everything is still fresh in your mind, and they can make sure you have all the information you need.
We understand how stressful a traffic accident can be. It’s a frightening experience. Just remember that we’re in your corner, and it’s our objective to make accidents less painful.
Since 1875, Freeman & Sherburne has been serving the insurance needs of clients by coupling a small-town approach with the most current tools to serve you best. We are licensed in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.
As independent professionals, we provide all our clients with the best insurance solutions from a wide range of companies and programs. We make insurance simple, straightforward and economical. Reach out today and experience the way our agency works.