Understanding how to handle a car accident before it happens will help you address the situation like an expert. Take some time to learn the ins and outs of collision protocol and etiquette to ensure that you are prepared should you find yourself in an accident. You'll know what to do from the second you crash all the way to the collision repair shop.
Screech! Crash! What Next?
You've been hit, or you've hit someone. What you do next is very important. Assess your current physical condition. Is there any sharp pain or is anything difficult to move? If so, stay where you are if you aren't in immediate danger. If you don't feel any major problems, exit your car and check on the other driver. Ask if they're okay. If they say no, don't attempt to move them. Call 911 and stay with them until they arrive.
Otherwise, it's time to look at the damage. It's very important at this stage not to say anything that could admit fault or incriminate you in the future. While it is human nature to apologize whenever there's a conflict, especially when it involves property damage, you should avoid this habit in this situation. It's up to insurance companies to determine who is at fault, not you!
Should You Call the Police?
The correct answer depends on the laws in your area. Some places require you to call the police for any car accident beyond a fender bender, while others only require a call to the police if someone has been injured or if traffic is being majorly obstructed. If in doubt, just give them a call. You'll likely need a police report to file your insurance claim later anyway.
While waiting for the police, exchange insurance information with the other driver or drivers. The below information is highly important:
It's also worth taking pictures of the car accident before the cars are moved if possible. By the time this info has been exchanged, the police should be on the scene to help with the rest.
From Insurance to Collision Repair
By the time you leave the scene of the accident, you'll have all the information you need to file an insurance claim. Contact your insurance company and follow their instructions for filing a claim. They will likely direct you to a collision repair shop like Unlimited Collision that will be covered by your policy.
Once the shop has received your car, their first priority is to determine if it's worth repairing the car or if it should be totaled. If the damage is extensive, you may end up receiving a check from the insurance company and purchasing a new car. Otherwise, the shop will begin work repairing your vehicle.
Now that you understand exactly what to do in a collision, you can calmly react should one occur.
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