Auto accidents are stressful situations and can leave those involved in a state of shock. Recently, I got a call from a client who had just been in an auto accident. As we continued talking, I realized she was calling me from a barbershop and her car was still out in the middle of the street. Once I knew this was the situation, I told her to hang up the phone and go move her car. It just goes to show that people do funny things when they get rattled in an accident.
If you are in an accident, here’s what you should do first:
- Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If you don’t know whether a particular injury is serious, call 911 just in case.
- Remain calm. This one is easier said than done, but try to remain calm and take deep breaths to keep a clear head during this experience – there may be details you’ll need to remember later you’ll only recall if you were calm. If the accident was caused by another party, try to keep your cool and be polite.
- Get moving. If the accident was minor, move all cars involved to a safe place out of traffic. If the accident was more serious but you seem well enough to move, bring yourself and any other people involved to the side of the road, away from oncoming traffic. However, if you doubt the well-being of yourself or someone else involved, LEAVE THEM THERE. It may sound counter-intuitive, but moving someone while they’re in a fragile state can cause even more harm – let the professionals handle the situation as they see fit.
- Take proper safety precautions. Turn on your hazard lights and, if you have them, use cones to mark off the area. Carrying emergency flares in your trunk is a great idea to ensure that people can see you in the event of an accident.
- Call the police. Once everyone involved is as safe as they can be, call the police and inform them of the accident. For accidents like a fender bender, you’re probably better off calling the non-emergency line in your area. If any kind of serious collision occurred, call 911 as soon as you can to make a full report and get the help you need.
- Take a picture. If you can, snap a few photos of each of the cars involved, including the license plate. This will protect you against fraudulent claims from the other people affected.
- Exchange information. Collect as much information as you can about the other parties involved, including the driver’s name, address, phone number, email addresses, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number, and license plate number. If you feel that you caused the accident, do not claim fault with the other party – it makes things more difficult for you later!
- Stay put. No one should leave the scene of the accident until the police have arrived and you have filed a report. In most states, it’s actually illegal to leave the scene of an accident, so stay where you are and wait for further instruction from the authorities.
- Notify us. Call us at (408) 227-9991 for further assistance.
We are here to help with any questions and with putting your coverage into action when it is most needed, but we want to make sure you are safe first and foremost.