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Every year, six million car accidents occur in the U.S. While a majority of them don’t cause injuries or death, getting into one can be a jarring experience.
If you find yourself in a car crash, you may be unsure exactly what to do first and what you can expect. Here are five steps you should take immediately after an accident.
1. Try to Stay Calm
As difficult as it may be, try to remain calm and not make a scene. If possible, pull your vehicle to the side of the road or another safe area so it’s not blocking traffic.
Check to see if you or any of your passengers have an injury. Some injuries, like whiplash and chest pain, can sneak up on you hours or days later. Chest pain after car accident can be caused by the force of your seatbelt preventing you from going through the windshield.
Try not to place blame on the other driver or take responsibility for the accident, even if you were at fault. You may want to refrain from asking the other driver about their injuries or mentioning whether you have any or not. Sometimes this information can be used against you when seeking compensation.
2. Call the Police And Exchange Information
Exchange information with the other driver. This should include each other’s names, address, phone number, and the name of your insurance companies.
Even if the accident was minor, you may want to call the police so there’s an official accident record. The police will also record the names of any witnesses.
3. Contact Your Insurance Company
You’ll need to contact your insurance company and file a claim. What happens next depends upon the nature of the accident, your coverage, and who the insurance company determines was at fault.
You may have to pay a deductible in order to collect a claim. Usually, claims are easily settled by both insurance companies in a timely manner and don’t require a court hearing. However, if one or both drivers suffered extensive injuries it may go that route.
4. Expect an Agent to View Your Vehicle
If your vehicle’s damage is substantial, you can expect your insurance company to send an agent out to view and access the damage. They’ll most likely take photos and present a record of what they found to you.
Insurance agents are trained to estimate the damage to the car’s structure that isn’t always so obvious. Don’t be surprised if a fender bender turns out to be something that requires a lot of repair work.
5. Take Your Vehicle to a Repair Shop
Your insurance company will provide you with a list of approved automobile repair shops that you can bring your damaged vehicle to. You’re not obligated to use any of them, but these approved shops are usually vetted and recommended by your insurance company.
Check your policy to see if it includes a car rental while your vehicle is being serviced. This is a good perk to add when you renew your policy just in case you get into another accident or your current car needs extensive repair work done.
Know What to Do After an Accident
Even if there are no injuries, a car crash can be a stressful event. Knowing what to do after an accident will at least prepare you for the process of having your vehicle restored so you can return to driving it as soon as possible.
If your car is in good driving condition, visit our travel & rntertainment archive and get ready for that road trip!