Most people are unsure of what steps to take after the unfortunate event of an auto accident. Whether you’ve hit an animal or another vehicle or slid into a ditch, curb, or any other type of property, the activities that take place after the accident are of the utmost importance for you as an insured, but also for the insurance company. You should always have your insurance card, scratch paper, and a writing utensil in your vehicle.
Below you will find a handy checklist or playbook to follow when you find yourself in a multiple vehicle accident. Following the list below will ensure that you take all necessary steps to provide your insurance company with any requirements your policy dictates:
1. Take a deep breath, center yourself, and take note of your own well-being and the well-being of any passengers, then check for injuries of anyone involved outside of your vehicle.
2. If an ambulance is needed, call immediately.
3. If no one involved in the accident is injured, immediately call the police. Regardless of where you are or who’s at fault, a police report is a necessity that should accompany every accident of any type.
4. If the accident is in a congested, high-traffic area, move your vehicle and any other vehicles to a safer place. If another vehicle is involved, write down the license plate number before moving to another location.
5. For accidents involving multiple vehicles, speak to the drivers and write down their names, addresses, and phone numbers. (Most of which could be found on an insurance card.) If the driver does not own the vehicle involved, ask for the owner’s information as well.
6. Never sign anything written by another person involved in the accident. You should only sign documents given to you by the police.
7. Take notes of the accident scene, i.e. the streets of an intersection, traffic controls (signs or signals), and where the damage is on each vehicle involved. If you have the ability to take photos, DO SO! You can never have enough photos when preparing to present an insurance claim.
8. Recognize any potential independent witnesses that may have seen what happened. An independent witness is someone who observed the accident whom you have no previous association with prior to the accident.
9. Never discuss the details of what happened in the accident to anyone but the responding police department. Provide only what you know happened. This is not the time for assumptions or educated guesses on what was going on. Make sure when dealing with the police department that your voice is heard. This is a crucial time to speak up.
10. Report the accident to your local insurance agent.
Personal Lines Claim Representative I