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Ever been in a car accident? I was a few years ago close to my home and it was very very scary! Thankfully I did not have my kids with me but the other driver did and my first thoughts went out to those kids! I was frozen with fear and didn’t know what to do! Over 5.6 million police-reported automobile accidents occurred in 2012 with 70 percent resulting in property damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so knowing what to do when you are involved in a car accident is of upmost importance to people today, especially woman! Here are 6 things you need to know if you are involved in a fender bender or car accident to make sure you take care of yourself and others.
You must stop
Most importantly, stop and stay calm. Don’t run and don’t leave the scene since in most states this is against the law. You don’t have to leave the cars exactly where the accident occurred if it’s not safe according to Cars.com. Slowly and simply pull off the road and get safe. Once you’re out of the line of traffic, turn on your hazard lights. If your car can’t or won’t move, then you might have to leave it but turn on those hazard lights and leave the car if it is safe to. You don’t want to get hit again especially if you are in the car. If you can’t move your car without damaging it further, you might have to leave it where it is, but be sure to turn on your hazard lights. If your car is less-than-perfect, don’t even worry about it because between insurance or CarBrain, you will be able to take care of your car.
Call for help
Once you are safe, call 911 and report an accident. Also call your support system so you can have someone on their way to come pick you up. When I had an accident close to home, my husband was onsite with me within 5 minutes and a lifesaver since I was so shook up, he was able to talk on my behalf. If no one has been injured, a police officer acts as a neutral third party and may produce a report that could help you with your insurance claim. If there were injuries, then you want the paramedics there as soon as possible and 911 will be able to do that for you.
Get out that handy camera phone if you are able and while waiting, take pictures of the scene, damage to your car and others, location, road as well as who was involved and any witnesses. This will help you later with the insurance company or attorneys and help jog your memory as you might be a bit foggy as to what happend later.
I know you might be upset or confused but don’t forget this step! Get your info like insurance card, driver’s licence, registration and exchange it with the other drivers, those involved and any witnesses. Info like this will be invaluable and needed for next steps. Again, if you can get some help or a support person up there, they will be able to help you with this and even the police can. If you need a translator or other special help, make sure you tell the 911 dispatch operator that when you call. You should also request a copy of the accident report. Here is a recap since this is so important:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Driver’s license number and expiration date
- Insurance company policy numbers and contact information
- License plate number of the other car
- Make, model, and year of the other car
- Contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Police officer name, badge #, phone and accident report #’s
Mums the Word
Other than exchanging information, don’t talk to the other driver or witnesses as you don’t want anything you say being held against you especially if you are at fault. When the police arrive, be truthful and stick to the facts but again you might want to call your attorney like Hunter Law Group, a personal injury attorney Tampa. Have them advise you and answer any questions you have. Many are available 24 hours a day depending on the area of the country you live in and can help if you get in an accident.
Call Your Insurance and/or Attorney
Report the accident right away to your insurance provider especially if your towing or rental car coverage is through them. They are also open 24 hours a day usually to help and can give you the options you have so you can make the best decisions for your situation.