Getting into an accident of any size is very stressful. Even the most seasoned and experienced driver can be left frazzled. The tiniest of fender benders can be confusing or frustrating. Things tend to move so quick right after a collision, you may not even be sure what happened! The best thing you can do is remain calm and try to remember a few of the following tips:
- Check yourself for injuries first. Do not move if you are severely injured. Wait for emergency personnel to come and assist.
- Check on your passengers. Call or ask a bystander to call 911 if there are any injuries.
- Get to safety. If possible, move all vehicles involved off to the side of the road to allow the flow of other traffic. If you are not injured and are able to, get to the side of the road or sidewalk out of the way of other cars.
- Wait for help. Make sure vehicle engines are turned off and hazard blinkers are on. Use road flares if available to warn oncoming traffic.
- Call 911. Regardless of the extent of the damages, you want a police officer to come and fill out an accident report and document the scene. Most likely your insurance company will want a copy of the accident report.
- Exchange information. The police officer will also do this. But in a case where they are not the following are important:
- Full name and phone number of the other driver. If there is a different name on the insurance policy, be sure to get that as well.
- Insurance company and policy number.
- Vehicle info: license plate, color, year, make, and model.
- Time and location of the accident
- Document the incident. As best as you can, take photos of everything: both vehicles and the area the accident happened. Collect names of police officers, other parties involved, and witnesses.
- Don’t discuss fault. While you’re exchanging information, it may be difficult not to talk about who, what, and why the accident happened. Try to minimize discussing fault. The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will determine fault based on the information gathered by the parties involved, the police report, photos of the scene, and inspection of the vehicles and property involved.
- Call your insurance company. It’s best to call as soon as possible while everything is fresh in your mind. They can assess the situation and instruct you on your next steps.
Accidents happen! It’s never a good feeling, but we here at Northern Westchester Collision are educated and equipped to support you through the entire process. Our office personnel are fluent in the claims process and are more than happy to answer questions and assist as best we can.