Most drivers are involved in a car accident at some point. It’s something we don’t like to think about, but must be prepared for. Would you know what to do? We’ve put together these simple guidelines to doing and saying the right thing after an accident. We hope you’ll never have to use them, but it never hurts to be prepared.
- Remain calm and stay at the scene. No matter how angry or upset you are, it’s very important that you think as clearly as possible.
- Never apologize or admit liability (this could invalidate your insurance).
- Ask all drivers and passengers if they are okay.
- If necessary, get medical attention for yourself or others. If anyone has back or neck pain or unconscious, don’t move them.
- If there has been significant damage or injury, call the police. If it looks like the other driver might try to blame you, it’s a good idea to call the police in this case too. Get the police officers’ names and badge numbers when they arrive.
- Exchange information. This is what you need:
- Other driver’s name, address and phone number
- Other driver’s license number and license plate number
- Basic insurance information
- Passengers’ names and contact details
- Take pictures of your car. These will be used to determine the extent of the damage if there is an insurance claim.
- Phone your insurance company. This should be done out of earshot of the other driver and their passengers. Remember, you need to tell the truth about what happened and the extent of your injuries otherwise your insurance could be invalidated.
- If anyone was injured, consult an attorney. If you were at fault, you will need legal defense; if you were hurt then a lawyer will ensure that you receive the full settlement that you’re entitled to.
- Think carefully before talking about the incident to others. You should only talk to the police, your insurer and your attorney about the collision. If another insurance company phones you, tell them to contact your insurer or attorney to set up an interview (and let them know you were contacted).
There you have it: 10 steps to take immediately after a collision. Read them, try to remember them (or even better, bookmark them on your phone), then get out there and drive safely!