Having an auto accident or dealing with a catastrophe is stressful, yet it’s important to try to stay calm and focused.
1. Safety First
- If the car accident is minor, move vehicles out of traffic to a safe place.
- Shift into park, turn off your vehicle, and turn on the hazard lights.
- Use cones, warning triangles, or flares for added safety, if you have them.
2. Get Help
- Check for injuries; call an ambulance when in doubt.
- Call the police, even if the accident is minor. A police report can be invaluable to the claim process and help establish who’s at fault.
3. Collect Information
- Gather information from others involved in the accident.
- Drivers and passengers: names and contact information.
- Vehicle descriptions (make, model, year).
- Driver’s license numbers – License plate numbers.
- Insurance companies and policy numbers.
- Eyewitnesses: names and contact information.
- Accident scene location and/or address.
- Police officer’s name and badge number.
- Take photos of all vehicles involved and the accident scene, if it is safe to do so.
- Do not sign any document unless it’s for the police or your insurance agent.
- Be polite, but don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
4. File a Claim
- Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Call your insurance company and file a claim.
- Let them know which shop you would like to take your vehicle to (You have the right to choose).
5. Find a Reputable Auto Repair Facility
- Find a shop that you feel comfortable with.
- Ask family and friends about referring you to a body shop they have used before.
Being involved in an accident can be a scary thing and using some of these tips can help if you may not know what to do. And as always stay safe.