5 steps to take if your family is in an accident.
Experiencing a car accident can be a terrifying experience, especially if you have your family in the car with you. Amongst the chaos of the situation, it can be hard to know what to do, who to call, and what is need prior to contacting your insurance. No one wants the worst to happen; however, no one has ever regretted preparing for the worst situation. In this case, prepare for the worst by knowing the five steps you should take if you and your family are ever in a car accident.
Even if the accident was minor the first thing to do is to prioritize the safety of you, your family, and bystanders at the scene. The moment it is safe to do so:
- If possible, pull your car over to the side of the road to avoid being hit again, or interfering with oncoming traffic.
- Turn off your car and remain at the scene of the accident as it is illegal to flee the scene of a car accident regardless of who caused it.
- Check to see if fuel or any other hazardous chemicals are leaking. If there is a leak, then carefully have everyone moved to a safe area close to the scene of the accident in case. If the accident involved a commercial truck carrying flammable materials this is especially important.
Call for help
Even for a minor accident, it is important to contact the police reporting the accident getting an accident report made. In several states, it is even your legal responsibility to contact the police if you are involved in an accident to have an accident report made. While waiting for the police to arrive take a note of any, and all, injuries sustained by you, your family members, those of the other driver, and their passengers. Still take documentation of injuries if they are minor. If you don’t claim them at the time of the accident, then they can still be claimed later on providing you have proof of the injuries. If you or any of your family has a serious injury, then do not move them as you could potentially make the injury worse. This time can be taken to call for paramedics to receive medical attention for anyone who has or is suspected to have, a serious injury due to the accident.
Also, if you have reason to believe that the accident was caused due to intoxication, or drugs, it is highly recommended to contact the police and paramedics to have it documented if the other driver was driving under the influence. When there is damage to business properties the police still need to be contacted as an accident report still needs to file to document the damages.
Exchange information with other driver
Knowledge is power, and nothing is more important than making sure you have all the information of the other driver after doing the first two steps. While at the scene of the accident collecting the information of the other driver can help you when contacting your insurance, and quite possibly help determine who was at fault in causing the accident. When exchanging information make sure to get the other driver’s:
- full name of the other driver
- license number, and take a picture of their license
- details of their insurance and registration
- if the accident involved a commercial vehicle, then take down the company name and information
- contact information
- time, date, and location of the accident
- Registration, license plate number, make, and model of the other car
- driving conditions: rainy, slush, icy, fog, snowy
- Traffic conditions: missing road sign, broken street light, malfunctioning traffic light, or damaged road
Obtaining this information may not be easy as the other driver may be uncooperative, or have fled the scene of the accident. In either of these cases gather as much visible information as you can. Be sure to take pictures if you can of the other driver’s physical appearance, car damage, and license plate number. Also, talk with any of the bystanders who may have witnessed the accident in case they gathered any additional information you weren’t able to obtain yourself.
Obtain a copy of the accident report
Before you can file an insurance claim after an accident a copy of the accident report is needed for the insurance company to have all the information they need to make a decision. However, obtaining a copy of an accident report can be easier said than done. In most states, you may have to get it directly from the precinct that made the accident report. This could require you to wait for them to finish completing it, if they haven’t already, which can delay you from making an insurance claim. However, if you happen to live in New York, or the accident occurred in New York, then you may be in luck. When it comes to obtaining an accident report NY than there are some sites that allow you to obtain a complete copy of the accident report without having to wait for the precinct to provide a copy of the report. Some do offer a free consultation from an attorney regarding the accident. It is advisable to speak with an accident injury attorney for the best chance of having a favorable outcome instead of having to pay out of pocket for an accident you may not be responsible for.
Contact your insurance provider
You can call your insurance immediately after the accident reporting the accident, but in order to make an insurance claim, the accident report is needed. At the time of the accident, calling your insurance company can provide you with protection in the event that you develop any symptoms later on that may be attributed to the accident. It is also important to contact your insurance to provide them with the information they need to make a determination of who’s at fault by reviewing the information in the accident report. Your insurance company may also take into consideration any photographs that were taken at the time of the accident, and inspect your vehicle to estimate the cost of damages.