What You Need To Do When You Get Into An Accident

The stress associated with a motor vehicle accident can be quite overwhelming,but nothing compared to the trouble that a driver will have if they are not adequately prepared for the worst case scenario. Maintaining an appropriate level of car insurance that offers enough protection is perhaps the most critical component of properly planning for responsible car ownership. Even with good coverage, however, a consumer still needs to be aware of several important tips that should be followed in the event of an emergency.Immediately following an accident, a driver should immediately attempt to turn their vehicle’s ignition switch into the off position. Fire hazards exist even in minor accidents, and it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they have taken any possible precaution to reduce the risks. A common misconception is that vehicles equipped with OnStar or other accident reporting technologies will not function without power, but the simple fact of the matter is that these systems have backup power and will not be negatively affected by the disabling of the ignition. Any headlights or warning lights should be left on in an effort to warn approaching traffic.

A driver needs to assess their surroundings and determine if it will be safer to stay inside the vehicle or carefully exit. As long as there is not an urgent need to vacate the car, the next most logical step is to contact emergency services for assistance. Any injuries should be reported as quickly as possible to enable an ambulance to be dispatched at once. The dispatcher on the telephone will ask questions and attempt to decipher any specific needs for the fire department or rescue squad. Even in a minor incident, law enforcement must be dispatched as soon as possible to keep the scene safe and secure.

One of the most important things that drivers need to realize is that they do not need to communicate with the other parties involved unless it is to ensure that they do not require immediate medical attention. An admission of guilt or an apology can end up causing an individual an incredible amount of trouble if a lawsuit is initiated, so drivers should not talk about the accident until law enforcement requires them to do so. Witnesses may be reluctant to wait on the state troopers or highway patrol, and it is normally a good idea to gather any contact information when possible. If a motor vehicle accident does eventually lead to a court case, a consumer will want to know that they have multiple witnesses available that can support the chain of events leading up to the incident. Although the police report should be fairly descriptive with the details, it never hurts to take pictures of the actual scene of the accident. Even if the images are on a cell phone or other low resolution camera, a picture can help provide evidence that would otherwise simply be speculative in a court of law.

Vehicles with significant damage will have to be towed, and a driver needs to realize that it may be several days before they will be able to obtain access. Because most tow yards do not have complete shelter, personal belongings that are in the car may be exposed to the elements. An individual should make every attempt to gather their valuables while still at the scene of the accident, or at least make arrangements for someone to go to the tow yard as soon as possible. A comprehensive car insurance policy that has adequate coverage should provide some protection for valuables in this type of instance, but it is still the responsibility of the consumer to try and avoid any unnecessary damages or theft.

Dealing with the insurance companies after an accident can be remarkably easy with reputable insurers, but it can also prove to be quite difficult when trying to determine fault. A driver should be completely honest with their auto insurer and try and provide any information they can to help with the process. Any pictures or witness information obtained can be shared with the driver’s insurance company, but very seldom is it a good idea to collaborate with the other party’s insurer. Any questions should be directed to the car insurance company prior to making any decisions or agreements. The exact process that an individual will go through is going to determine on a wide variety of factors, and a good relationship with a car insurance provider will make a huge difference every time. Whether or not the vehicle can be fixed will also affect the procedures that must be followed. All insurers have their own adjusting methods, and some even allow preferred body shops to perform the entire appraisal of damage.

It may not always be possible to avoid an accident, but knowing what to do after the fact will certainly help a driver navigate through the process. Preparing for the worst is the best strategy when it comes to planning for disaster, and partnering with a strong insurance company is an excellent way to ensure that the adequate protection will be in place if it is ever needed.

Written By: Sarah Montgomery

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