It can be a pretty disconcerting thing if you’ve been involved in a car collision, and chances are you won’t be thinking rationally or clearly. However, as soon as you recover from the initial shock of the event, there are some things you should keep in mind in order to make sure that you’re protected.
First of all, you are legally obliged to stop and check with the driver of the other car to make sure that they haven’t been hurt.
Even if you don’t think that any damage has occurred from the collision, you need to stop and find out for sure what the extent of any damage has been. It’s never a good idea to admit that you’re fully responsible for the accident since your insurance company has the requirement of investigating the incident and determining where any fault might lie.
You may not be aware of this, but the contract you signed with your insurance company requires that you never admit responsibility or liability for an accident, even if you are definitely the cause. Getting into a contract with an insurance company makes them your representative, and you should give them the opportunity to go ahead and represent you.
After your primary responsibility to stop and assess the extent of damage, there are some other things you should go ahead with at the scene of an auto accident.
Determine Damage Extent
It will be necessary to determine whether anyone in the other vehicle or in your own vehicle requires medical care. It’s best not to attempt to move either of the two vehicles unless they’re causing a traffic issue and you can easily push the vehicle out of the way. Ideally, you should wait for the police to arrive and let them do their job in sorting things out.
You might need to file a legal accident report regarding your car collision, so make sure to contact the police at the earliest opportunity. While you’re waiting for police to arrive, it’s best that you limit any discussion with the other party, because you don’t want to run the risk of admitting any fault or jeopardizing your case.
You should limit your conversation about the accident with the police, any medical professionals who happen to be present, and your insurance representative, if he/she arrives on the scene.
Get all the Facts Straight
When you’ve been involved in a car collision, it’s easy to overlook the fact that it’s very important to gather all the facts you can relative to the accident itself. You should get the names and addresses, and if possible the phone numbers as well, of all those individuals who were involved in the auto accident.
It will also be useful if you can obtain the license plate number and a description of the cars involved in the accident, and it’s super important to get the insurance company and vehicle ID of other vehicles involved.
Don’t think that you’re fine just because you have the license plate number of the other vehicle, because most insurance companies don’t even have the license plate number of insured vehicles. Instead, what they operate on is the type of car and the vehicle ID, so those other pieces of information will be most relevant in order to file a proper insurance claim.
You’ll need to have a full description of what happened, information about the other driver and vehicle involved, and insurance information about other vehicles involved.
Car Collision Checklist
Here is a checklist of all the things you’ll need to collect after a car collision:
The first thing is an auto accident form, because this will gather all the information together in a single location, and these can be obtained at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Keep in mind that every state has its own car accident form, so it’s a good idea to have one on hand in the event that you are ever involved in a car collision. The event is stressful enough all by itself, without you having to worry about trying to gather the right forms.
Next, you need to collect information about the other driver, including their name, address, and phone number.
Then you need to get the information about the other driver’s insurance carrier, including the insurance company name and the policy number of the insured vehicle.
Collecting Useful Information
In terms of information about the other vehicles involved in a collision, you need to obtain a vehicle description, with the make, model, and year. If possible, you should take pictures of the other cars involved. Then you need to also get the license plate number and the vehicle registration information since that will be useful for resolving your insurance claim.
After this, there is a whole catalog of information you should try and collect, once you’ve calmed down and gathered your wits about you. This includes the date and time of the accident, and the approximate location for the accident, the road you’re on and the direction you’re traveling in, and the direction the other car was traveling in.
If you can take photos from several different angles, this will be extremely beneficial, otherwise, you can try to sketch a diagram of the crash scene itself. Then you should write up a description of exactly what happened, or use your mobile phone to record such a description. It’s best if you do this in the immediate aftermath of the crash when details are still fresh in your mind because important information might be lost or forgotten later on.
Make sure to record any details about driving conditions, visibility, and any special weather conditions which may have been involved. Try to get the names of any witnesses to the accident, as well as their contact information, so they can be consulted at a later date. By gathering as much information as possible, you’ll have the best chance of protecting yourself, and recovering from the car collision.