Pull Over Safely
- In most states, it’s a legal requirement to stop immediately if you suspect you’ve been in an accident. Turn on your hazard lights and choose a safe location to halt your vehicle, prioritizing safety for yourself and others.
Ensure Safety First
- Your immediate concern should be the well-being of everyone involved, including passengers and occupants of the other vehicle. Check for injuries and provide medical assistance if necessary. Remember that injuries may not always be immediately apparent.
Contact the Authorities
- Regardless of the accident’s severity, it’s crucial to inform the police. If there are injuries, request emergency services. A police report can be valuable for documenting the incident, even if it appears minor.
Survey and Document the Scene
- Examine the accident scene carefully, noting the location and vehicle details. Take clear, comprehensive photos from various angles to document the situation.
Exchange Personal Information
- Share contact details with the other driver, including names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and license plates. Avoid making informal agreements to settle without involving insurance.
Note: Avoid admitting fault, as this is for legal purposes and may protect you in case of legal proceedings.
Determine Available Insurance Coverage
- Understand the insurance coverage available, considering both parties’ policies and fault determination. Typically, the other driver’s insurance should cover vehicle damage and potential medical expenses resulting from injuries.
Notify Your Insurance
- Report the accident to your insurance company promptly. Being the first to file a claim can be advantageous and may be a requirement as per your policy terms.
Cooperate with the Authorities
- Provide a clear and truthful account of the incident to the police. Consistency with witness statements and evidence is important for insurance and potential legal matters.
Assess Your Vehicle’s Condition
- Once you’ve taken the necessary steps with the other driver, the police, and your insurance, examine your vehicle thoroughly. Check both the exterior and under the hood for damage, including potential engine issues.
Be Proactive with Vehicle Maintenance