Car accidents are definitely unfortunate situations to be in, and I would hope that you will never have to experience them. However, it is a lot more common than you might think. Of course, the severity of the accident can definitely vary, but it’s important to know at least the fundamentals of the Accident claims process and necessary protocols when being involved in a car accident. Hence this article aims to provide you with this important information, so you are prepared just in case an unfortunate situation like this occurs. Read below to find out what you should do if you get involved in a car crash.
1. Determine whether anyone is hurt
First and foremost, always prioritise your safety. Don’t ever leave the accident site, as it’ll be difficult for you to receive any assistance.
2. Get yourself and your vehicle out of danger
Once you’ve ascertained that you are out of danger and that the accident is a minor one, ensure that your car is not obstructing the road. You can drive to the side, and ensure that your hazard lights remain on. You can also put up the reflective triangles that can be found in your car.
But, always ensure that your health is in tip-top condition before you do anything else. Safety should always be your number one priority.
3. Contact the police
While in the past, regardless of the severity of the accident, the police will most likely turn up at the scene, these days, many departments have been converting to settling reports online.
Hence, if you do get an actual police officer at the scene, do remember to take down his/her details, such as their name, badge number and any additional contact details. If there isn’t an officer showing up, then ensure to get a copy of the police report made so you can use it when making your insurance claim.
4. Collect important information
In the age of digital media, it’s now easier than ever to capture important evidence, such as documents. However, if you don’t have a mobile phone on hand, you can use the old traditional pen and notebook to get the important details of every person that is involved at the scene of the accident. It’s important to note that the details should match up, and if for example, the name of the driver differs from the registration name for the car, you should probe for more details such as how the driver is related to the owner of the vehicle.
Other forms of important information would be the information of the vehicles, right down to the colour and model.
5. Document the scene
As mentioned earlier, documentation is extremely important. If you have your cellphone at hand, you should detail down as much of the scene as possible. If your vehicle has been compromised, you should take pictures and videos of the damages.
Also, pictures will help document the specific time and date of the accident, which helps to provide additional evidence for future claims. Many a time, it’s difficult to recreate the scene, so having the digital evidence is definitely useful in simplifying the process for the lawyer or relevant personnel in the evaluation of the entire scene.
If you don’t have picture evidence of the scene, you can try to sketch it from memory as well. This can be done by describing the scene and capturing the audio recording of it during the scene of the accident as it still remains fresh in your mind.
6. Avoid roadside discussions about responsibility
It’s important to also maintain a calm disposition during the accident. People can get very emotionally charged during the scene of the accident, so it is important not to pick a fight or shift blame to the other party as it can most definitely rile them up, and make them uncooperative. This will only create more difficulties for yourself, which is definitely not desirable.
7. Call a tow truck if needed
If the state of your car is heavily compromised, you may need to phone the nearest towing centre. Hence, you should have some form of membership in place with a company that can provide this assistance for you. It’s important not to rely on the police for this, or think that your car will somehow be towed away instantly.
8. Call your insurance company
The process of making an insurance claim can sound like a huge chore, and sometimes it is. Hence, people tend to be afraid to make claims, and instead decide to settle and negotiate a deal to quickly get the situation over and done with. However, if you do not inform your insurance firm about the incident, you could actually incur additional costs due to the damages from the accident.
Instead, the insurance company you work with can actually provide you with useful information and advice that may help you save on these additional costs. For all you know, the accident could be the fault of the other party, and hence you could potentially lose a lot of money for no reason if you decide not to inform your insurance firm.
9. Take the high-tech route
The claims process is way less of a hassle than it was in the past. In fact, digitalisation has made the entire process so much simpler. You can now track the end-to-end process of your accident claim and even submit your claim online.
Did you know your insurance agent can also help you with towing? Just ensure you have the contact details of your insurance company, and that you remain contactable throughout the entire process.
10. See your doctor
To ensure your safety is not compromised, ensure you visit the doctor immediately. Sometimes, injury symptoms may not show till later on, so it’s important to still get checks done even if you feel physically fine.
11. Be proactive.
Lastly, being over-prepared is never a bad thing when it comes to safety. So, always ensure that you have a checklist in place if you ever get into this unfortunate situation.
With this, we’ve come to the end of this article about everything you need to know if you happen to get into a car accident! We hope that these tips will give you a better idea of the steps you should take should you ever get into a car accident. However, like all things, prevention is better than cure! When you’re driving, always remember that safety is of utmost priority! Being vigilant, alert, and gracious while driving will go a long way in protecting yourself from harm on the road!