Driving is such a routine part of daily life that few of us seriously consider the possibility of being involved in a car accident. But every year, there are around 6 million such incidents on America’s roads.
Some 3 million people are injured in consequence, 2 million of them suffering a permanent disability of some kind. And, on average, more than 90 Americans are killed in traffic accidents every single day.
So if you are involved in a crash, your first priority must be to get your vehicle to a safe place and attend to the protection of your driver and/or passengers.
Contact First Responders
That being done, call 911 immediately. No matter how minor a collision might seem, there may be physical injuries that are not immediately obvious to the untrained eye. And there’s always a risk that crash debris might endanger other vehicles.
Despite the inevitable emotion and confusion of the moment, it’s important to avoid any discussion of fault, or any explicit or implicit admission of liability, as even an innocently intended apology may be seized on as evidence by the other parties involved, and potentially prejudice any claim.
Nor should you discuss the amount and type of your insurance cover.
Collect as Much Information as Possible
That said, it’s safe to assume that you will, at some point, be required to file a detailed account of the incident – either with the police, the relevant state’s DMV, or the insurers.
So call your insurance agent as soon as reasonably practical. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what to do, and the information you’ll need to provide.
In the meantime, the following steps will be a good start.
- Get the names, addresses, and contact details of all those involved and also those of any witnesses. You will also need the names and contact details of the other parties insurers.
- Take photos of all the vehicles involved, including license plate numbers, and be sure to get images from every angle, ensuring that all damage is recorded. You should also photograph relevant drivers’ licenses and insurance documents if available.
- If it’s safe to do so, take pictures of any crash debris and skid marks on the road. You should also get photos of any road signage, traffic lights, or crosswalks at the scene.
- If you can, back up all your pictures with written notes. Try to record as much detail as possible of what happened, including the weather and road conditions and exactly what you and the other drivers did.
- If the police attend the scene – they may not for minor incidents – get the name and badge number of the officer in charge and ask for an incident/report number.
Get a Medical Check-Up
Finally, when you are able to leave the scene, consider getting a medical check-up if you suspect that you have suffered even the slightest of injuries. Symptoms of whiplash, for example, a very common auto accident injury, may worsen significantly in the days following a crash.
And since any personal injury claim will likely be processed as part of your overall auto insurance claim, you need to have your supporting medical evidence ready as soon as possible.
We all like to think that it will never happen to us. But as we’ve noted in this article, auto accidents are unfortunately very common – in 2019, there were more than 145,000 in Wisconsin alone – and even apparently minor “fender benders” can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive.
There are ways to minimize these impacts, and one of the best is to build a good relationship with an independent insurance agent before you need them.
At G&L Insurance we can not only arrange cost-effective, tailored coverage that precisely meets your needs, we’ll also be right beside you if you ever have to make a claim. For more information or to request your free quote, contact our office today.