What to do if You are Involved in an Auto Accident: Nine Steps You Must Take

Statistics reveal that if you regularly drive an automobile, odds are that you will be involved in at least one motor vehicle accident during the course of your driving career. These same stats also reveal that most people simply are not well prepared to deal with the aftermath of a car accident. Through this article, you are presented with a nine step checklist including what you must do should you ever find yourself involved in an auto accident.

1. Remain Calm, Keep Safe, Obtain Appropriate Medical Attention

Obviously, an auto accident - even a minor fender bender - can be an extremely stressful situation. Therefore, it behooves you to do your best to try to remain as calm as possible under the circumstances. If you do not maintain a level of calm following an accident you will put yourself in an unenviable position of not being able to make the best and most appropriate decisions in the aftermath of an accident.

Moreover, you absolutely need to make certain that you ensure that you are safe following an accident. Included in this directive is the fact that you must not take any unnecessary risks in the aftermath of an accident.

Finally, you really should seek prompt and appropriate medical attention immediately after an accident. The fact is that even a minor collision can result in physical trauma that might not be readily recognized by a lay person following an accident. The failure to obtain a medical examination could result in you incurring permanent injuries and damages.

2. Don't Admit Guilt ... Don't Apologize

Never - never - admit any guilt in the aftermath of an accident. Even if you feel that you are at fault for the accident, keep your mouth shut. In the end, despite the fact that you might be at fault on some level for the accident, the reality is that you might not legally be at fault for the situation.

Along these same lines, do not apologize after an accident. While it is human nature to apologize - whether or not you think you are at fault - apologizing can be taken as an admission of guilt ... an admission that can come back to haunt you.

3. Contact the Police ... File a Police Report

You must contact the police following an accident. You need to make sure that a police report is prepared and filed. You must understand that many insurance companies includes within their automobile insurance policies a provision that will deny coverage if no police report is filed.

4. Make a Comprehensive List of Witnesses

Unless your physical condition precludes such as task, you should make every effort to round up a list of witnesses to the accident. In this regard, you need to get the names of these witnesses as well as alternate means through which you can make contact with these individuals at a future date. You will also want to write down a statement from each of the witnesses detailing what they did and did not see in relationship to the accident.

5. Exchange Insurance and Other Relevant Information

Always exchange insurance and appropriate contact information with the other individual involved in the accident (even if a police report is being filed). The exchange of information is crucial for a variety of important reasons - including for the filing of a claim.

6. Make a Log of All Facts Associated with the Collision

In addition to collecting the names and statements from witnesses and contact information about the other individual involved in the accident, you will also want to write down a log of all of the relevant facts associated with the accident. In other words, you will want to write down your statement pertaining to the accident as soon as possible after it occurred. Make sure that you sign and date (including the hour of day) the statement after you have completed it.

7. Do Not Leave the Scene Until these Tasks are Accomplished

Never leave the scene of the accident unless and until all of the tasks outlined thus far in this article have been completed. In addition, do not even attempt to more your vehicle (or permit the other vehicle involved in the accident to be moved) until the police have arrived on the scene and examined the situation for their own official report.

8. Contact Your Auto Insurance Company Promptly

You must contact your automobile insurance company to begin the claims process immediately. You need to make sure you understand the requirements associated with filing a claim that are contained in your policy itself. You must realize that if you do not contact your insurance company in a timely manner (as prescribed by the policy provisions), the insurance company likely will have the right to deny your claim if it so desires.

9. Consult Legal Counsel as Necessary

Finally, you may need to consult with an attorney following an automobile accident. An attorney is not necessary in all cases of an auto accident. However, if the damages to property are extensive, if you (or someone else) have suffered physical injuries or if you are deemed to be at fault as a result of the accident, legal assistance likely will be necessary. In this regard, it behooves you to get an attorney on board as soon as possible.

author: Mike Broemmel

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