Being involved in any kind of accident is scary, and car accidents can be particularly so. The minutes immediately after a car accident can be stressful and you may feel disoriented, to put it mildly, but trying to keep your calm is key. Part of being able to handle the aftermath of a vehicle crash effectively is knowing in advance what you should and shouldn’t do. Below, we’ve compiled tips to help you prepare for the actions you should take and those you should avoid after a car accident.
You may want to keep a copy of these tips in your vehicle to reference in case you need them:
What to DO after a car accident:
- Get off the road. If your car is drivable, carefully move it out of the flow of traffic to avoid any additional accidents.
- Get medical attention if necessary. Call 911 if you think someone needs immediate medical attention.
- Call the police, if needed. If the accident takes place on a roadway or highway, it is the law in Michigan that you must call the police (this law does not apply to accidents taking place on private property such as those occurring on an individual’s driveway or in a store parking lot). In Ohio, you do not have to contact the police after a car accident unless there is an injury. If you are traveling to other states, check the local law before you go or, when in doubt, make the call.
- Exchange information with the other car owner. If the accident involves another car, then you should exchange the following information with them: name, contact information, make and model of vehicle, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number.
- Record the facts. Taking photos or a video of the accident scene any damage, is a good idea, if possible. Also, try to note the time of day and weather conditions, especially if no police report is filed.
- Contact your insurance company. Whether you’re at fault or not, you must notify your insurance company after a car accident, otherwise you risk being denied coverage. If the accident involves another driver, whom you believe is at fault, contact their insurance company, too.
Things you DON’T want to do after a car accident:
- Exit your vehicle unless it is safe. Do not exit your vehicle, especially if you are on a busy highway or street, until you are certain it is safe to do so.
- Move an injured person. If someone you are with, or in the other party involved in the accident, sustains an injury, do not attempt to move them. Wait for emergency medical personnel.
- Leave the scene of an accident. Even if the accident you are in is minor, do not leave the scene until you’ve exchanged information with the other driver(s) involved.
- Outwardly apologize or admit fault. While you don’t want to be dishonest, it is important, even if you think you’re to blame for the accident, to avoid saying anything that could be used against you later if the other party decides to sue over the accident.
- Discuss your insurance policy. In the same vein as the point above, the less you share with the other driver, the better. There is no reason to discuss your insurance coverage limits or deductible immediately after a car accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 7 million car accidents occur each year and that one out of every four drivers is in vehicle collision during their lifetime, so it’s important to know what to do after a car accident. Reviewing the above “Do’s” and “Don’ts” is a good start. In addition, you may wish to review your auto insurance policy to ensure that you are adequately protected against any property damage or liabilities that could result from a car accident. Our team of insurance professionals is available to help you—so let’s talk! Contact us today.
About the Author:
Lauri Arnett has worked in the Commercial Service Department at Kemner-Iott since September 1998. She has a 17 year old daughter, Haylee, who she loves watching perform at track meets and band concerts, and is currently teaching her how to drive (Yikes!). Outside of work, Lauri enjoys going to a Toledo Mudhens or Tigers games, going for long walks when the weather is nice out, and loves spending time with her daughter, Haylee.