Accidents can happen at any time, even if you are an extremely cautious and defensive driver! Most accidents actually happen within 25 miles of the house, according to a Florida highway spokesman. Sometimes they happen well in your own garage. Ask my sister-in-law who crashed her boyfriend’s car into her garage while you’re backing up! No matter where they occur, there are a number of steps that need to be followed after an accident.
The Consumer Protection Association of America continually develops a list of recommendations for drivers so they really know what they need when a traffic accident occurs. This beautiful organization is taking great steps to make the public more aware of road safety. Some of the steps are preventative and must now be followed before getting involved in an accident.
First, have an emergency kit in your glove compartment or in the storage room. The kit should contain a mobile phone, pen, paper pad and disposable camera (this is very important). Today most of us carry a cell phone, which takes pictures. As long as you make sure that your phone is with you and carries a charge this should be enough for the cell phone and disposable camera in the kit. These items are to capture the most important information about the accident and the scene.
You should also provide a map with information about any allergies or medical conditions you have that require special attention, as well as emergency contact information. It is also recommended by other agencies that you have a number listed on your mobile phone under ICE (in case of emergency), where the present police officer or EMT can simply hit shortcut on your mobile phone to get to your emergency contact. You should also have traffic cones, danger triangles and emergency beacons in your trunk.
Second, you have to make sure security comes first! When you are involved in a minor accident and there are no serious injuries, make sure that the vehicles are moved to the side of the road. Don’t stay on the road and become an obstacle to oncoming traffic. If you do this, this can lead to increasingly serious traffic accidents due to your vehicles creating an obstruction on the road.
My wife was reared by another woman on an exit ramp and she left her vehicles on the hillside believing it was safe and that it was important for the police to see the exact position of the vehicles. Despite the fact that both vehicles were clearly visible for a minimum of 300 meters and both were with their flashes turned on, another drive came and hit the back of the SUV that had originally hit my wife! My wife called me on her cell phone and told me what was going on and I told her to get the vehicles off the road right away!
If the car or cars are not mobile, make sure other drivers are alerted by turning on the hazard lights and turning off flags, traffic cones, or orange triangles to divert traffic. If you do not move the vehicle, do whatever you want to warn traffic and then move a safe distance in case of further accidents.
If you are involved in an accident with serious injuries, make sure that no one is in immediate danger (from fires, falls or telephone poles, etc.). After you take care of it, take care of that pain. It is important that you do not move anyone who has been seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger. More injuries may occur from movement. It’s always a good idea to let emergency crews participate and move the wounded whenever possible to help prevent this.
Three, exchange all important information with the parties involved. You must name the other driver, addresses, phone numbers (home and work), insurance company, car insurance number, driver’s license number, license plate number, license plate, and be sure to write down a description of each car, year, make, model, color and any visible damage. Also, write down as soon as possible what happened during the accident. Pay particular attention to the position of the vehicles, the sequence of events and the cause of the damage.
I recommend that you write any information readily available to you without the cooperation of the other driver, such as registration number, make, model and color of the car, description of the driver and brief description of other occupants. Also get all the information from the witnesses at this time.
As long as no one gets hurt, most witnesses will soon leave the scene of the accident, and you want to make sure you have your information. After obtaining this information, the driver then accesses your information, such as driver’s license number, insurance details, and contact details. This ensures that the other driver cannot escape the scene while you are distracted without getting information and this lets you know that you all matter.
Four, take pictures of the crash scene and the cars involved. Use your disposable camera or mobile phone to record damage to all vehicles and the crash scene. If there are important points to show, such as long skid marks, hidden input and output, etc. be sure to document them as well. Make sure that the photos of the vehicle illustrate the overall context of the accident so that they back up your progress. If there are witnesses, make sure they ask for your name and phone number, and ask if they will help you in case of problems with the other driver contesting what really happened.
Five, submit an accident report as soon as possible and receive a copy of it as soon as it’s available. In some areas, police do not respond to traffic accidents unless there are injuries. You should always call the police and ask an officer to come to the scene to make the police report.
They will obtain the information from the other unit if they do not cooperate in sharing the information with you, and will write their comments from the scene of the accident, which will further support your claims. If you don’t take a police officer to your crash site, find out how to submit a police report and do so immediately. You may need to go to the local police station or download online police reports, depending on your country. A police report usually helps speed up the damage process.
Six, understand your insurance coverage for an accident. The more you know about your insurance coverage, the easier the claims process and procedure will be. Does your policy cover tow or a replacement rental rental fee? If your so didn’t and the accident the other driver was immediately blamed for it with his insurance company.
The question everyone’s worried about is, “Who’s going to pay for this?” If it’s the other driver’s fault, you must insist that they pay for the damage. If they agree, they can recognize this in writing if possible. The other unit may be nice to pay for the damage now, but after a little time passes and they are not in your immediate presence they may need a change of heart and decide to try and harden you (that’s why you need witnesses, documentation, etc.).
I recommend calling someone if you are available to assist them in the accident management process. They will be much calmer and more objective to see that everything is being accomplished. I arrived before the police in my wife’s accident when our van was behind us. I checked and made sure everyone was okay. So I made sure the vehicles were a safe distance from the road.
Then I obtained all the vehicle information (make, model, color, license plate), photographed the vehicles and the scene of the accident. Then I received information from the driver of the other two drivers involved. After I obtained the car insurance information, I immediately contacted the other driver’s insurer and asked them to file a claim for the damage caused to our van. I did all this before the cop finished writing his report. So I talked to the cop, got his name and learned the contents of his report.
When I found out I was satisfied with the content that was accurately displayed what my wife had indicated, I asked for the report number so I could get a copy as soon as possible. I doing this streamlined the whole process to our claim and it moved on like a clock.