What to do When you Get in a Car Accident?

At WebFirst Insurance, we know that car accidents are a stressful experience. That’s why we’ve created this handy list of steps to take should you find yourself in one:

 

1. Pull over immediately

In Massachusetts, it’s the law to pull over after your car has struck another motor vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, or if your vehicle hits someone else’s property. It’s also a good practice to stop operating the vehicle immediately if your car has been hit as well, so that officers and insurance companies can have as precise of a depiction of the crash as possible.

 

2. Dial 9-1-1, and notify the police of the accident

Not notifying the police of a car accident puts you at risk to be denied coverage by the insurance company. In worst cases, you’ll also be at risk for prosecution.

 

3. Stay safe

The “curiosity factor” of a car accident typically causes other drivers to slow down to see the accident. This spells trouble; your accident could very easily become the scene for another car accident. Debris from your accident could even cause another accident on the road. If possible, use flares, flashlights, or other safety equipment to secure the crash site and alert other drivers.

 

4. Accept medical treatment

Even if you don’t feel injured or hurt, make sure to accept medical treatment if offered. Far too frequently, accident victims discover later on that their injuries, which they thought were minor, prove to be otherwise. This is because many of the injuries that result from car accidents are “soft tissue injuries.” These types of injuries can worsen over time. Make sure to report any injuries to law enforcement officials who respond to your accident scene.

 

5. Cooperate with law enforcement

Provide accurate information to the police officer. You have the right to ask law enforcement officers to document evidence at the scene.

 

6. Control your temper

This is not the time to get upset and harass the other driver or passengers. It is recommended that contact with the other driver is engaged only for an exchange of contact information.

 

7. Take notes of important details

This way, you have a personal account of what happened. If anything gets misrepresented, you have proof. Include the names and contact information of those present, witness statements, and a description of events, including:

  • Time of day and date
  • How the accident happened
  • Road conditions, traffic, and weather
  • Your injuries
  • Road obstructions or obstacles
  • Potholes
  • Uneven lanes
  • Vehicle skid marks
  • Any other details

8. Take photos

Take photographs of the accident scene as soon as you can. Photograph any obstacles, obstructions, adverse road conditions, signs, trees, vegetation, and any other relevant information. Make sure to photograph the scene from a variety of angles and show the time of day that your accident occurred. Lastly, document any injuries to yourself or your passengers.

 

9. Keep records

Your insurance company will contact you after an accident, if you haven’t already reached out to them, and potentially law enforcement officers and attorneys will reach out to you as well. Make sure to document who reaches out to you and why they have contacted you. Keeping records of everything helps eliminate human error when fact-checking down the road.

 

10. Contact your insurance carrier

As soon as you can, call your insurance carrier to report that the accident occurred. Do not answer any other questions besides the date, time, and location of the accident.