Depending on the severity, automobile accidents can range from being a mere nuisance for drivers all the way up to life-altering and potentially fatal events. With roughly 6 million accidents occurring in the United States on an annual basis, the risk of getting into a collision is always a possibility.
If you find yourself a victim of an accident that was not your fault, there are certain things you can do to facilitate the process and get you on your way as quickly as possible. Take the steps listed below with a grain of salt, however, considering that the extent of damage or injury may require a different approach. You may even want to consider calling a Bakersfield car accident lawyer as a precaution. For less severe collisions, here are some tips that will save you time, money, and energy after you’ve been in an incident:
- Pull Over to a Safe Area
Depending on the location of the accident, the first step to take is finding a safe area to pull over. Granted you aren’t seriously injured and the car can still maneuver, it is important to move to a location that is away from traffic. This way, you can avoid any further risks and get the post-accident process started immediately. However, if you find that you can’t move the vehicle in a safe and secure way, turn on your hazard lights to warn oncoming drivers of the accident.
- Make Sure You & Your Passengers are Ok
After moving to a safe area, check to make sure you and any passengers in your car are unharmed. Oftentimes following an accident, the adrenaline rush and shock of the collision can mask any potential injuries that may have occurred. This means that an onset of even the slightest symptoms warrant examination by a medical professional. If you or anyone involved in the incident are injured, call 911 immediately to avoid further complications.
- Consider Contacting the Police
Although it’s recommended you call local authorities and obtain a police report whenever an accident has occurred, this will undoubtedly prolong the process. If after a minor accident you find that the damages are minimal and you’re in a rush to get on your way, you may not want to notify police due to the time it takes to give statements and file a report. However, if either vehicle has sustained significant damages, it’s likely in your best interest to get everything documented by the police.
- Gather Information from Parties Involved
After confirming everyone’s safety, approach the other driver to swap information with them. Make sure to obtain details on their insurance policy number and insurer, driver’s license, model and type of the car, license plate and anything else that seems pertinent.
- Take Pictures at the Scene
Having documented evidence of the accident’s location and resulting damages is also a crucial part of the process. This includes areas hit during the accident (like your bumper and doors), the intersection or area where the collision occurred and pictures of the other party’s vehicle.
Also consider taking pictures of the other driver’s license and insurance policy information, rather than writing it down on a piece of paper. This can help avoid issues caused by accidentally losing the piece of paper or incorrectly copying things like their policy number or telephone number.
- File Your Insurance Claim
The last step of the accident aftermath is contacting your insurer. Although you don’t necessarily need to call them while still at the scene, the sooner you file the claim, the quicker it will be processed and completed.
Make sure to provide your insurance agent with all information and documentation obtained from the other driver, including any pictures you may have taken. Unfortunately, chances are your insurance premiums will increase after any accident, so it might be in your best interest to compare auto insurance quotes with other companies if you feel your rate jumped unreasonably. However, keep in mind that regardless of where you go, the accident is now on your insurance record and previous premiums may no longer apply.
Nobody ever wants to get into an accident, but they are a risk of the road. With car collisions so prevalent these days, it’s important for you to know what steps to take in the aftermath of an incident so you can navigate the process safely and smoothly. The steps outlined above will guide you in what to do after an accident so you can obtain the right information and get back on the road as quickly as possible.