If you are involved in a car accident, what should you do?
While you may know, the shock and trauma after an accident may cloud your judgment and make you forget. Take a moment to review the following tips to refresh your memory on how to safely get all the information you need to file a claim with your insurance company. These tips are important for even the safest drivers, as accidents are not always preventable.
1. Stay Calm
In the event of an accident, remaining calm is essential to keeping you and others involved safe. Panicking can cause mistakes to be made and fog one’s senses. While it may be hard, try and take a deep breath and focus on what steps to take next.
2. Pull Over to a Safe Location
If possible, pull over to a safe location, whether that be the shoulder, a parking lot, etc. No matter what, DO NOT leave the scene of the accident. In Texas, leaving the scene of an accident before certain tasks are performed can result in a felony charge.
3. Make Sure You and Your Passengers Are Okay
You and your passenger’s safety is priority. Your adrenaline will be high immediately after the accident, and you may not experience any pain or symptoms right away. Be sure to quickly examine everyone in the vehicle, including yourself, for any injuries.
4. Call the Police
In Texas, it is legally required to report an accident to the police if there is an injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1000. When the police arrive at the scene, they will take a crash report. This report will be useful when filing a claim with your insurance company.
5. Do Not Admit Fault
No matter what you do, DO NOT admit fault even if you think you are responsible for the accident. Once you admit that you are responsible, you cannot retract that statement, and it can be used against you. Let the authorities and insurance companies examine the crash report and any other evidence to determine who is liable for the damages.
6. Exchange Vital Information With the Other Driver
When in an accident, exchange information with the other driver and take photos with your smartphone. This information will be beneficial when trying to contact the driver or when notifying your insurance provider. This information includes:
- First and Last Name
- Contact Information
- Proof of Insurance
- Driver’s License
- License Plate
- Make, Model, & Year of Vehicle
7. Secure Witnesses Vital Information
If witnesses approach you, secure their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Drivers will often have different accounts of what happened. Witness statements can help clarify these events, as they do not have an invested interest in the case or its outcomes.
8. Take Pictures of Damage to All Vehicles Involved
Before you leave, take photos of the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident, including your own. Be sure and include all four corners of the vehicles, making certain the license plates are visible.
9. Call Your Insurance Company
Once you are NOT driving and are in a safe location, call your insurance company to report the accident. Ag Workers Claims Resolution Department can be reached at 1-800-772-7424, option 4. A resolution specialist will provide you with directions and answer any questions you may have.
Remember that while damage to your car causes unneeded stress and heartache, the most important thing is to focus on you and your passenger’s safety. Cars can be repaired, so focus on your passengers and collect all the necessary information from the other driver. You will then be able to file a claim with your insurance provider and be one step closer to getting your car repaired or replaced.
For more information on how to stay safe on the roadway, check out our article on bad weather driving tips.