How to Protect Yourself in a Car Accident - Steps to Take
Most of us are not prepared to handle car accidents practically. The only way we can train ourselves to handle accident scenarios as calm as possible is by knowing the exact steps to take and review them from time to time. In a car accident, at fault or not, you must take protective steps that are critical in the claim process. Insurance Calculator Inc. has prepared a list of critical steps to take in a car accident together with the leading top insurance providers in the United States. "We believe by following the steps provided, drivers can better protect themselves from fraud and false reporting during car accidents," said Eric, CEO of Insurance Calculator Inc. "Insurers, on the other hand, can better evaluate how the accidents occurred and provide accurate and fair coverage to all parties involved."
Step 1 - Shut Off Your Engine
The very first thing you have to do when you are involved in a car accident is to shut off your engine immediately. This is especially important when your vehicle is damaged where having the engine running may cause additional hazards such as fire. Do not change gears as you are not sure of the condition of the vehicle's gear box. Simply shut off your engine immediately without performing any other tasks.
Step 2 - Call 911 and Report the Accident
After you have shut off your engine, inform the police about the accident immediately. By calling the police, you will receive 2 critical services - medical service and evidence collection service. When you have the police involved, all parties involved in the accident are less likely to false report the details of the accident. This step is critical for the health of all parties involved and for the protection of the party who is not at fault in the accident.
Step 3 - Check for Injuries
After you have called the police, before you get off your vehicle, you need to check for injuries on your passengers and yourself. Perform medical emergency procedures if necessary. It is always a good idea to keep a medical aid kit in your vehicle that is easily accessible. After you have done such checks for your passengers and yourself, perform the same procedures for all third parties involved in the accident, making sure that everyone is safe and injuries are treated immediately. Steps 1, 2, and 3 are for the medical protection of all parties involved in the accident as injury treatments are the first priority, always.
Step 4 - Look for Witnesses and Collect Their Information
Look for people that have witnessed how the accident occurred. Grab their names and phone numbers and call them the next day to see if they are willing to provide a written testimony on their perspectives of how the accident occurred. Testimonies from witnesses who are not directly involved in the accident are crucial in the claim process and their testimonies will protect you from accident fraud.
Step 5 - Take Photos of the Accident
After you have informed the police and ensured the safety of everyone, it is critical that you start recording and collecting the details of the accident by taking photos with a digital camera or with your smart phone. Take photos of the surroundings and all vehicles involved in the accident. When you take photos on the vehicles, take shots from all sides. Don't be afraid to take as much photos as possible; you never know which ones will be crucial in helping the police and your insurer to determine exactly how the accident occurred. This step is to protect you from possible accident fraud and false reporting from third parties involved in the accident.
Step 6 - Write Down Important Driver, Vehicle, and Accident Information
Take down the name, phone number, address, vehicle make, vehicle model, vehicle plate number, date and exact time of the accident, and even the weather at the time of the accident. You need to take down as much information in as much details as you can. The more prepared you are, the more convincing you are to your insurer.
Step 7 - Report to Your Insurance Company
Most insurance companies require insured individuals to report accidents within 24 hours from the time of the accident. Some allow up to 48 hours. When you report an accident and start the claim process, you need the following information:
- Your policy number
- Your vehicle make, model, plate number, and VIN number
- The date and time of the accident
- The location of the accident
- How the accident occurred
- Name, phone number, vehicle make, model, plate number, VIN number, and the driver's license number of any third party involved in the accident
- Name, contact, and testimony of all witnesses of the accident
- Photos of the accident surroundings and vehicles involved
Protect Yourself, Save More in the Long Run
Accident fraud is becoming more and more popular throughout the United States. Running into an accident is already an unpleasant experience, don't let false reporting create extra burden on your shoulders. Please review the steps described above from time to time. You can even print a copy of the list, leave it in your vehicle, and follow it in the event of an accident.