Even the best drivers are at risk of fender benders. With so many variables on the road, accidents happen. In the U.S. alone, an average of 6 million accidents occur each year. If you’re among this number, it’s important to know the next steps to take. If you find yourself in a car crunch, follow these procedures:
Safety first: If possible, pull your vehicle to the side, out of traffic, but in a safe, public place. Use caution when engaging the other driver if you suspect road rage is involved.
Damage assessment: Find out if anyone is hurt and call 911 if medical assistance is needed. After personal injuries are taken care of, assess the damage to the vehicles. Take pictures to document any damage.
Information gathering: Record the names of everyone involved. Try to get witness information if possible. Include in your records the car registration, insurance, car make and model, and license information for all drivers. If you hit a parked car, don’t leave the scene before finding the owner. If you can’t locate the owner, record the details of the accident and leave a note with your contact information.
Police notification: Contact law enforcement to alert them of the accident. Document the names and badge numbers of the officers involved and find out how you can get a copy of the accident report. If officers don’t come to the scene, go to the nearest police station to file a report. You may also be able to do this online.
Claim process: Notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible to start the claim process. By following the procedures above, you will have all the information and documentation you need to make this process as smooth as possible.