What To Do If You Are Involved In An Auto Accident

May 6, 2009

By: Sean Peoples

What To Do If You Are Involved In An Auto Accident

Keep your registration and current insurance card in your car glove compartment.

STEP 1:

· Be certain that anyone who needs medical assistance obtains it immediately. Do not move an injured person except in cases of immediate danger.

· If possible, move your vehicle to a safe area, away from traffic.

· Call police and report any injuries.

· If your vehicle is inoperable, move ambulatory people to a safe location. Call a towing company to move your vehicle. Get the name, address, and phone number of the towing company.

STEP 2 :

The information you gather at the accident scene will assist the insurance claim process. Although the police gather much of this information, their reports are often not immediately available following an accident. It is very helpful if you can obtain:

· Name, current address and home/work/cell telephone number of the operator(s) of the other vehicle(s). Obtain the operator's driver's license number.

· Name, current address and home/work/cell telephone number of the owner(s) of the other vehicle(s) involved.

· Insurance information for both the operator(s) and the owner(s) of the other vehicle(s). Obtain the name of the insurance company, insurance agency, policy number and policyholder's name. Ask to see the Insurance ID card(s).

· Name, current address and home/work/cell telephone number of passengers in any vehicle involved.

· Name, current address and home/work/cell telephone number of any witnesses who observed who observed the accident.

· The make, model, color and license plate number of all vehicles involved.

· The name of the police department and officer's name that reports to the scene and the accident report number and ask how to obtain a copy of the police accident report.

· Note the street names of where the accident happened.

· Write down some accident details such as direction of travel, speed of vehicles involved and pre-accident actions (e.g. did they brake, any horns sounded, did they swerve to avoid accident, weather conditions, date and time of day, hazards, road conditions). Draw a picture of the street showing stop signs, signal lights, etc. Note any skid marks.

STEP 3:

· Fully cooperate with the authorities and truthfully answer their questions. Avoid discussing how the accident occurred with the other party involved. Well intended statements such as "I am sorry, I never saw you" can complicate the eventual resolution of the claim.

STEP 4:

· Contact your auto insurance carrier as soon as possible following the accident.

Additional considerations:

· Consider keeping a disposable camera in the glove compartment to photograph the accident scene and vehicle damage.

· If you suspect the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, ask that a breath or drug test be performed.

· Do not accept money to repair damages from the other driver. By accepting money, you may forfeit your right to file a claim against the other driver, especially if damages turn out to be more expensive than you first thought.