Steps To Take after a Car Crash
Whenever you are in an accident, you’re likely to feel a bit discombobulated and maybe a little frightened but you should always keep your wits and remember 10 important steps you should take immediately after.
What other vehicle or vehicles are involved?
Take down the make, model, license plate number, and VIN(s) of the other car(s).
Note the Passengers
Find out how many people were involved and which vehicle(s) they were traveling in, their names, sex, height, weight, ethnicity, and so on. Having this information helps you avoid attempts at insurance fraud such as a staged accident.
The Other Driver
Speak with the other driver or drivers. Exchange information with them. Get their name, address, driver’s license number, date of birth, and phone number. In addition, get the name of their company, the policy number, start and end date, phone number, and agent’s name if applicable.
Were There Witnesses?
If anyone saw the accident occur, make sure you get their information so they can help the insurance company determine who is at fault.
Photo-document the Accident
Take pictures all vehicles involved, the scene of the accident from all corners, and if possible, photograph the involved parties. This will greatly help the insurance company identify everyone involved.
Note the Vehicle’s Condition
Determine the condition of the vehicle, the damage inflicted to it, and whether it is drivable. Disclose any damage to the vehicle that is not a direct result of the accident.
Find a repair shop you want to use or ask the car insurance company if they have a list of preferred facilities they can recommend. If you already have a favorite body shop that you use, make sure you supply the insurance company with their information.
Was a Police Report Taken?
If the police came and a report was taken, the insurance company will require a copy and it may take several months for them to get it. If you want your claim settled expeditiously, you should obtain a copy yourself and send it to them.
Where did the accident occur? Write down the location of the accident, the number of lanes and whether it was one or two-way, the pavement striping and which direction each vehicle was traveling, as well as where each vehicle was impacted. Take down the lane each driver was traveling in and whether any traffic-control devices were employed in the area.
Write Down Everything
Throughout the entire post-accident and claims process, you should keep track of everything in writing. Take note of people’s names, phone number, extension numbers, who said what and when, and so on. It is best practice to keep very detailed notes. That way, if any anyone later says anything contradictory or recants on something they said earlier, you can go back and reference your notes.