Automobile accidents can happen to anyone at any time and can range from minor scrapes to life-altering major smashes. Some cause injury and some are possible to walk away from with nothing but a feeling of being rather shaken. What all accidents will have in common is what happens afterward, and what you as a driver will need to do to ensure that everyone is safe and that no further damage is done.
The very first thing that you will need to do after an accident is to check whether everyone is okay. If you can exit your vehicle, take a look around and see how everyone else who was involved, assuming there was anyone else in the accident. If an ambulance is needed, this will need calling right away.
Sometimes the cars won’t be able to be moved, but if they can be and leaving them where they are would be unsafe, such as they would be in central Indiana accidents for example, rather than an accident that took place out in the country, then they should be moved. Remember to be extremely careful if you need to do this so as not to cause any further damage or any injury. You may be feeling shaken after your collision, so you might need to wait until you are calmer before getting back behind the wheel of your car. Once the vehicle is moved, make sure the engine is turned off, it is shifted into park, and the hazard lights are blinking to warn other motorists that there is a problem.
If you have a warning triangle, then this can give other drivers even more awareness of the fact that you are off the road and in difficulties.
Once the cars are in a safe place and everyone has been assessed, you will need to get help. The ambulance, if required, will already be on its way, but you may also need the assistance of the police and perhaps even the fire crew if anyone is trapped within their vehicles.
You may not think that calling the police is necessary, especially if the incident was a minor one, but a police report can be extremely useful when it comes to filing a claim with your insurance company. If there is no emergency, then don’t call 911, but instead, phone the local police service who will be able to determine whether or not to come out to assess the accident. Police officers may be required if there is any aggression from anyone who was involved, or if the vehicles or the debris from the accident is causing a potential hazard on the road.
One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to obtain all the information needed to file a claim with your insurance company. That means you will need the full names of the driver and any passengers who were in the other car or cars as well as their contact information. To make things even clearer, getting the vehicle descriptions (including the make, model, and the year of production) is important, and the license plate is perhaps the most vital piece of information of all.
On top of this, you will need the other party’s insurance details, whether it was their fault or not. It is far easier to let the insurance companies deal with all of the necessary paperwork for the claim, but that means letting them know as much about the accident as possible. They will need to know what road you were traveling on and what damage has been done; this is where taking photos of the damage are important.
Never Admit Fault
Even if the accident was your fault, and even if the other person knows this, never admit it. This is what the insurance companies will discuss, and it is far better to take down information and facts rather than trying to work out some deal or settlement between the two parties who were involved in the accident. Admitting liability can make it much more difficult for your insurance company to help you, especially if there was a witness such as a police officer who heard what was said.
File Your Claim
You will need to file your insurance claim as soon as possible after the accident. You may not feel like talking through what happened again, but it is vital to get the claim started immediately so as not to cause any delays in getting either car fixed. If you have medical expenses caused by the accident, this is another reason to get the claim dealt with quickly. The longer you leave it, the less recollection you’ll have about the accident, even if you do have noted and photos, and that can mean problems when it comes to working out who was at fault.
What Happens Next?
What happens next will depend on whether there were any major injuries and how badly damaged the cars were. It may be that it was just a small bump and you can drive your car away, in which case this is what you should do after you have calmed down enough to do so safely.
If the car is in worse condition and cannot be driven, a tow truck will be called and will remove the vehicle. You may be able to ride with the driver so that you know where your car is going, but you won’t be able to remove it because it will have been assessed as unsafe to drive.
There is no set timescale when it comes to an insurance claim because it will depend on the complexities of the accident, what injuries occurred, where it took place, and how damaged the vehicle or vehicles are.
The best thing you can do is to get some rest and recharge. Whether or not the accident was something that caused you serious injury or not, it will still have been frightening and so taking some time to get back to normal is essential. Then you can speak to your insurance company to they whether they have any timescales for you.