What to Do after a Car Accident

You may be frazzled after a wreck, but knowing in advance what steps to take may help ease your stress. In an auto accident, how you react can keep a situation from going from bad to worse. Follow these tips to protect yourself, get back on the road quickly and put the wreck in your rear view mirror.

Get to Safety and Get Help

Your quick actions following the crash could literally make the difference between life and death for you, your passengers and others on the road.
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  • If someone needs immediate medical attention, call 911. If you don’t have a phone, ask someone nearby.
  • If your car is still drivable after the accident, carefully move it out of the flow of traffic to the shoulder or a parking lot. A wreck that blocks traffic could create subsequent collisions.
  • Call the police station if your car or debris is blocking the roadway. Some local laws require that you notify the police of any accident.
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    Gather Information

    Once emergencies have been addressed and you are in a safe location, grab your Smartphone, camera or pen and paper to record information from the accident scene. Details of the accident could be important to process your auto insurance claim or determine who’s at fault.
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  • If the police arrive and write a report, obtain the report number.
  • Don’t admit fault. Even if you think you caused the accident, now’s not the time to apologize. It could be used against you later, even if other circumstances come to light that show you weren’t entirely to blame.
  • Talk to any other drivers involved in the accident and exchange information. This would include insurance company names and phone numbers and member/policy numbers.
  • Record names of drivers involved, the number of passengers in each vehicle, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and other vehicles’ year, make and model. You should share the same information about yourself.
  • Don’t disclose details about your auto insurance policy, such as coverage limits or lien holders.
  • Ask for contact information from others involved in the accident, such as passengers or pedestrians and any other witnesses who might be able to verify how the crash occurred.
  • As long as it doesn’t pose a safety hazard or interfere with authorities, take photos or video of the accident scene and the vehicles involved.
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    What to Keep in Your Glove box

    In case of an accident, keep these five items handy in your car.
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  • List of emergency contact numbers.
  • List of critical medical information, in case you’re involved in an accident and can’t communicate. Include medical conditions, medications and allergies for each member of your family.
  • Camera and pen and paper for taking notes. (You also can use your Smartphone to record information.)
  • Proof of auto insurance.
  • Copy of this article.
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