What to do in a car accident

Posted in Auto

It’s early in the morning, you’re on your way to work and the unexpected happens. The car in front of you stops abruptly, causing you to slam into their bumper. Now what? The steps you take following a car accident are particularly important – for you and the others involved. It’s important to be educated on what to do after an accident, especially if it’s your first.

Drive your vehicle off to the side of the road.

Make sure to pull over and turn on your hazard lights. If you can’t move your vehicle, turn on the hazard lights and make sure everyone in the car has their seatbelt on.

Check your surroundings.

Do not immediately get out of your vehicle, especially if the accident occurred on a busy street or highway. Once the road is clear, check the safety of you and others involved in the crash. If someone is seriously injured, do not attempt to move them. Call 911 immediately.

Call the authorities.

Regardless of the severity of the accident, you should always call the authorities – either 911 or the local police station.

Stay calm and state the facts.

First, take a few deep breaths. As hard as it may be, remove any emotion when you are talking with the authorities. Instead, calmly explain exactly what happened. Do not take blame or shift the blame.

Be sure to stick only to the facts and do not make any excuses or apologize. Some people tend to apologize naturally, even if they are not responsible for the damages. By saying sorry or accepting the blame, you’re potentially giving evidence that can be used against you.

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Assess the accident and take diligent notes.

Pull out your smartphone to take pictures of your car, other cars involved and the area where the accident happened. This will only help your insurance company even more when evaluating the accident. Make sure to jot down the details of what happened and when. These will come in handy later. If weather (icy roads, torrential rainfall or poor conditions) was a factor, be sure to note that.

Don’t post about your accident on social media. Almost anyone can access it – an opposing attorney or the at-fault party’s insurance company could use these posts as justification to lower or even completely withdraw a potential settlement offer.

Make sure to get all the information from other parties involved.

Double check to make sure you have the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance provider and policy number. It’s also a good idea to keep record of responding officers such as names and titles in case you need to contact them at a later date.

Contact your independent insurance agent.

After you’ve gathered the information needed, taken pictures and reviewed your policy, reach out to your agent. They’ll be able to help you with the next steps. They’ll likely recommend that you file a claim. Don’t wait on filing this – the sooner you file a claim, the quicker the insurance company can start processing it.

If you are an Integrity policyholder, you can report a claim by calling our 24-hour Loss Reporting Center at 800.445.3030. You can also report your claim online after logging into or creating your own My Integrity account.

Click here to download Integrity’s Accident Information Kit.

This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Implementing one or more of these suggestions does not guarantee coverage. If any policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. For full details on Integrity’s auto insurance coverages and discounts, contact your local, independent Integrity insurance agent.

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