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What to Do After a Car Accident

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
A car accident is an unpredictable event and many people are not aware about the steps to be taken immediately after it happens. Here are answers for some of your questions about things to do post a car accident.
Driving a car is a pleasure, but one of the most dangerous and fatal activities around the world. Even if you take utmost care and precaution to drive your car by following all traffic rules, yet, you can never predict the unpredictable.
Car accidents are one of the most unfortunate events in which you may either be a victim, or an offender. You may be involved in a minor accident or a major fatal tragedy, that would require a prolonged disaster recovery.

Actions To Be Taken

The most important step in an accident is to be aware of emergency preparedness. The first thing to do is to calm your anxiety. You should immediately get out of the car, if you see any kind of smoke or fire in the car.
If there is nothing of this sort, then take a deep breath and check whether you or your fellow passenger (if any) is injured so that you can provide the basic first aid.
If there are no injuries, and you are able to move, then get out of the car. If you find the other driver is furious or is threatening you, then lock your doors and immediately call '911' to report the accident.
Do not leave the scene of the car crash before giving the details and necessary information to the police. In case the other driver, your fellow passenger or even you are injured, call the emergency assistance immediately. Call the tow after you call the police, in case your car is badly damaged.
If it is a severe accident, ask the police to put it on record and issue a ticket. The ticket is a very important piece of evidence in matters related to car insurance after a car accident. It helps the insurance company get a clear picture of which driver was at fault.
Never ever speak about your state of mind, personal condition and anything out of the blue that has absolutely no connection with the accident, unless asked to do so. This may be used against you in a post-accident legal action or claim.
The next thing to do is to copy all the details on the other driver's license. You should note down his or her ID number, State that issued the license, address, etc. You should never forget to note down his/her phone number, and call the number immediately to ensure that it is correct.
Next, note down his/her insurance details by asking for his/her card and carbon copy it. Avoid writing down the details if they just recite it, without showing you the card. Then you should write down their car model, make, license plate number, color, etc.
If you are uninjured and can move around, it is very important that you should identify the witnesses, if any. If they drive off, try to note down their license plate numbers. If there are by-standers, take down their names, addresses and telephone numbers. Ask them what they saw and write down their descriptions.
If you can, draw a rough sketch of the accident scene. Note down the distance of the skid marks, if any. If you have a camera, the best thing to do, is to click photographs and take a video of the accident site. Write down the name and badge number of the police officer who will come to the accident scene.
Never agree to pay the damages and sign any documents (other than the ticket issued) before speaking to your lawyer or insurance company. Cooperate with the police officer investigating the case and stick to the facts.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible. You can call on the 24 hour helpline number of your insurance company or call your insurance broker/agent.
You can even file an online claim if this kind of service is provided by your auto insurance company. Provide all the necessary information asked by your agent and give him all the details you collected from the other driver.
Never try to cover up anything on your part that would have led to an accident. State the facts correctly, and do not tamper with the evidence as this may lead to your claim being denied.
You should also take your car to a garage and get an estimate for the damages that have cropped up after the accident. It is always better to take your car to at least two or three different car garages to get an estimate.
Collect all the other details regarding the amount of days or hours you had to remain absent from work due to the accident. Also work on the medical bills, towing costs, storage costs, etc. that lead to any other additional financial losses.
Once the insurance company gathers all the required information regarding the accident, wait for them to process your claim. The issue regarding the claim will be settled by the insurance agents of both the parties.
After reaching a mutual consensus, they will offer a statement to settle your damages. Accept it, if you are satisfied with the amount quoted for your car repair, but if not, then refuse the settlement and seek legal assistance to claim a financial compensation.
Even if you are at fault, be honest, as the insurance companies will find out the real facts sooner or later. You should know all the details regarding your auto insurance and medical insurance in case you get involved in an accident. Gather as many documents and proofs as possible to back your claim.
A picture is worth a thousand words, therefore, get a photograph of the accident site to be presented as evidence. Always ensure that you drive safely and act as a responsible driver. You can never predict an accident, but you can always try to avoid one. Wish you a happy and safe ride!