Vehicle accidents happen every day. They are unfortunate, but you must be prepared in case you are involved in one. Your chances are nearly 1 in 10 that you or someone close to you will be involved in an accident. Be prepared. Below are steps to take in the event you are involved in accident. Also, print out the Accident Information Form and keep it in your glove compartment. It includes space for you to record information regarding the accident.
Stop your vehicle and assist anyone who may be injured. Telephone 9-1-1, and they will dispatch the appropriate emergency responders.
Exchange information with the other party. Obtain as much information as possible from the other party. (see Accident Information Form)
Name of insurance company
Full name, address, and telephone number
Driver’s license number of other party
Make, model, license plate, and year of vehicles involved
Get the names, addresses, telephone numbers of any witnesses to the collision. (If you don’t get the information now, it may be impossible to locate those people later.)
If possible, take photographs and video of the scene and damage to the vehicles.
Write down everything that happened during the collision while at the scene. If you are unable to do this at the scene, do it as soon as possible thereafter. (Write down statements that other people made. Memories soon fade you may not remember the details at a later time.)
Do not discuss fault with the other party. Never accept responsibility for the collision at the scene. There is plenty of time later to determine who is at fault. It is not always clear who the at-fault party is. If a person makes a claim against you, you should refer them to your insurance carrier. Never discuss your claim with the attorney or adjuster for the other side.
Telephone your insurance company and obtain an incident claim number. Some insurance companies may deny an obligation to pay benefits if you do not notify them promptly. Even if the other party accepts fault and offers to pay for damages, it is still advisable to make a claim with your insurance company who will then handle tasks on your behalf, mainly collecting payment from the at fault party or their insurance carrier. You pay for insurance, so don't be afraid to use their services. Your record or premiums will not be affected by a claim where another party is at fault or if your insurance ultimately does not end up paying for any damages.
You are not required to speak with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Do not make any statements or agree to allow them to take a recorded statement.
If your vehicle is not driveable, or is not safe to drive on the roads, have a tow company move your vehicle to a facility of your choice.
Your insurance company may try to convince you to take your vehicle to a repair facility of their choice, which is beneficial to them, but not always beneficial for you. As the owner of the vehicle, it is your choice where you have your vehicle repaired. All insurance companies are able to appraise vehicle damages at any location and do not need it to be at one of their "preferred" shops to do so.
Put all of the information you have gathered in a safe location and keep the information until your case has been settled.