Car accidents are generally an inevitable part of life for most people. Nowadays, divers are more distracted than ever. Phone use and riskier driving, such as speeding and hard braking, have skyrocketed. When you are involved in an auto accident, being prepared will certainly help, regardless of who is at fault for the collision. If you have taken the proper precautionary measures, it will certainly help your case if you decide to make an auto insurance claim against another driver whom you believe was at fault. There are also methods to protect you if a false acquisition was put on you regarding the accident. Being in an accident can be stressful, but luckily there are some steps that can make the process go a little smoother.

Initial Actions

First and foremost, do your very best to remain calm. If it is safe to do so, pull your car over immediately, ideally in a well-lit public place. Be cautious of your car becoming a road hazard and try to keep it out of the way of oncoming traffic. You can also use emergency flashers to alert the other drivers on the road. One of your most important priorities should be to make sure you and your other passengers are safe, therefore maintaining a safe distance away from the collision (without leaving the scene) is best.

Secure Passengers

It is common to feel disoriented after a car accident, leading you to make mistakes you otherwise would not. However, it is important to take a deep breath before you proceed to protect both you and the others in your vehicle. In minor collisions, never leave young children, pets, disabled adults, or non-ambulatory elders in the car when dealing with the accident details. Also, wait to take any further actions with those individuals until a first responder can assess them for possible injuries.

Calling for Help

When you feel you are safe to do so, check to see if you or your passengers have any injuries. Immediate medical assistance is important if someone has even minor harm. You will need to provide 911 with the location of the accident, your name, and other identifying information they request. They might also ask for mile markings, traffic signs or signals, and travel direction as identifying factors to help find you quicker.

If the police didn’t come to the scene because they do not think it is needed or they leave before taking a report, your next step to try would be getting to the nearest police station and filing a report as soon as possible after the accident. You must document the accident with a police report to protect you if the other driver decides to file a claim. Be sure to get a copy of the police report, as this may be very helpful to you later in the claims process.

Talking to the Other Driver

It is crucial to make sure that you are safe to speak to the other driver. You must also be able to do so calmly, without police help. If you think road rage may have influenced the accident, think about waiting until a police officer is there or give extra caution. You can engage in small talk while waiting for the police; however, it is important to refrain from making admissions even when you feel you’re at fault. It is advised not to express anger or blame toward the other driver. Also, avoid discussing who is at fault at the scene as that is for the insurers to determine.

Also, resist discussing vehicle damage or bodily injuries, especially because you may not know their extent immediately after an auto accident.

Gather Information

It is also best to keep important information in your car, such as registration, proof of insurance, and your insurance contract. You will need to exchange insurance and contact information with the other party. Again, be careful not to say anything that may be used against you later.

What to collect for insurance claims:

  • Name and contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license and license plate number
  • Type, color, and model of vehicle
  • Location of accident

Take photos or video of any damage to both vehicles, speak to witnesses and write all you can remember about the incident. Documenting road and weather conditions or anything else you believe contributed to the accident is also helpful.

Filing an Auto Insurance Claim

Reach out to your insurer as soon as possible to speed up the claims process. They also might be able to help with other services that are part of your policy. It is smart to ask questions about anything you don’t understand about your policy. Ask them what your deadline is for filing an auto claim and when you can expect to hear back from them. Your insurer, or the other driver’s insurer, will likely want to inspect your vehicle to determine the damage estimate.

About Thayer Innes and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agencies

At Thayer-Innes Insurance Agency and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agency, we strive to provide comprehensive insurance solutions to support Ann Arbor homeowners. Our homeowners’ policies can be tailored to meet your specific risk exposures and provides much more coverage than a traditional policy, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. For more information about our products, contact us today at (855) 395-6316.