Every year in the U.S., at least 4.4 million people suffer injuries from road crashes that are serious enough to require medical attention. That medical care ranges from observation to major surgery.
If you’re only dealing with a minor car accident, you should consider yourself lucky. Many people don’t get to walk away from an accident.
That said, a minimal damage accident still comes with an urgent to do list. But, what are the most important steps?
Read on to learn what to do after a minor car accident so you can get the necessary repairs and get back to normal.
Check for Injuries
Even in a minor fender bender, you can have injuries that seem subtle at first like bruises or whiplash. Take stock of how you feel, even if you don’t have any clear injuries.
Then, check on other passengers in your car as well as those in the other vehicle.
Take Photos of the Accident
If it’s safe to do so, take a few photos of the accident site right away. Try to get photos of the placement of both cars as well as obvious damage and the other car’s license plate. If you’re on a busy road, pull over and get to safety.
These photos will come in handy during the insurance claims process and in case the other person drives away. Photos can confirm facts about the accident in case the other driver tries to claim a different story.
Call the Police
Once you’ve taken a few photos of the crash site, pull over so you can call the police. If there’s no major injuries and you’re not on a busy road, you can use the direct non-emergency police phone number. But, you can always call 911 instead.
Once an officer is on the scene, they can direct traffic if necessary. They’ll also take an accident report by talking to you and the other driver.
You’ll need the police report to file an insurance claim and in case the issue goes to trial. Make sure to ask the officer how you can get a copy of the report.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver(s)
You’ll also need to exchange information with the other drivers involved. Here’s what you should write down.
- Full name, contact information, and driver’s license number of the other driver(s)
- Insurance carrier, policy number, and insurance agent for those involved
- Location, date, and time of the accident
- Make, model, and license plate number of other vehicle(s)
- Badge numbers and names of police officers at the scene
If you weren’t able to take photos before, make sure to document the scene now.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
The final step is to contact your insurance agent. Police or others on the scene might tell you to call your agent, but don’t do it immediately.
Your agent will start the claims process to help cover damages, but they’re also looking for ways to save money. That’s why you should take some time to process, or else you might share statements that could later be used against you.
Calm down, reflect on the details of the accident, and then call your agent.
Knowing What to Do After a Minor Car Accident Gives You Peace of Mind
A car accident can take anyone by surprise, but it’s even more stressful when you don’t know what to do after a minor car accident. Hopefully, with this to-do list you’ll feel more prepared.
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