Car accidents are very stressful, regardless of the circumstances. Physical injuries can derail your life for weeks or even months, while expensive vehicle repairs set you back financially. Even if you are not at fault for what occurred, you are likely to experience a great deal of stress.
Taking the right steps in the hours and days following your accident is crucial to mitigate stress and ensure the best possible outcome. U.S. News & World Report recommends the following tips so you can act appropriately in the aftermath of an accident.
Report the accident to law enforcement
There is a misconception that you only need to contact law enforcement in serious accidents. However, even if damage is minor, calling the police is still beneficial to the situation. First, the police will help direct traffic around the accident scene to prevent more damage and injuries. The officer will also document what occurred to create a police report, which can be beneficial when filing your accident claim. Make sure you ask for the officer’s name and badge number so you can request a copy of the report when it is complete.
Exchange information with other drivers
You must also report the accident to your insurer, which requires information from the other drivers involved. When exchanging your name and insurance information, be careful about what you say. While you should never lie about what occurred, also refrain from apologizing or taking responsibility for what happened. There are a lot of factors at play with vehicle collisions, including road and weather conditions. That means fault is not as clear-cut as it may seem.
Document the scene
Once you have exchanged information with other drivers, look for any bystanders. Ask what they witnessed and if they will provide a statement. Unbiased opinions are often very valuable if there are disputes about fault. You should also take pictures of the accident scene with your mobile device to provide to the insurance company.