Your first instinct after a car accident may be to call for help. Do you have a plan for what comes next? Being proactive in your response can help keep you, your passengers and your property safe while simplifying the process of filing an insurance claim.
- Consider moving your vehicle onto the shoulder or side of the roadway to prevent further damage.
- Stand a safe distance from traffic and if vehicles are seriously damaged, keep a distance to avoid unsafe conditions such as car fires or explosions.
- Activate your hazard lights and place safety flares or signs immediately to warn other drivers.
- Contact the police or confirm they have been notified if you cannot call yourself.
- For injuries, contact medical help and await their arrival. Do not give first aid if you are not qualified to do so.
KEEP YOUR SUMMARY
- Keep calm. Keep a clear mind and focus on your safety and gather relevant information. If you drive a company-owned vehicle, follow your company̵7;s reporting procedures as soon as possible.
- Be polite but refrain from taking responsibility or apologizing for anything. It is best to only speak to a police officer when making statements about the accident.
- Do not fight. Situations can escalate quickly. It is best to review the circumstances surrounding the accident with a police officer present.
- If possible, collect contact information for the responding officer. Record their name, department, badge number and incident report number.
- When appropriate, request contact information from other involved insured drivers including names, phone numbers and vehicle registration numbers. If a company vehicle is involved, record the employer’s name.
- Provide only necessary contact information to others involved in the accident; first and last name, phone number and insurance company should suffice. Fraudsters sometimes use a car accident as a way to collect personal information for identity theft.
- Gather information about passengers or witnesses and request that they stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive. Passengers and witnesses can often tell you about important details or circumstances that can be helpful in the report.
NOTE SURROUNDING CIRCUMSTANCES
- Take in your surroundings and make notes for your own future reference. If possible, take some pictures to support your observations. Keep a copy of this Cincinnati Insurance brochure on car reports in the glove compartment (PDF 416k) to help you record details after an accident.
- Note contributing factors such as bad weather, dangerous road conditions, visual obstructions or incorrect traffic indicators.
- Note any observed injuries to persons involved in the accident and describe additional collateral damage to vehicles or property.
It is very useful to record details sooner rather than later. Gathering detailed information after your accident can help potential investigative needs and provide a clear and concise description for your agent.
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for the management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local Bolder Insurance independent advisor for insurance coverage advice and loss control information. Neither The Cincinnati Insurance Company nor its affiliates or representatives offer legal advice. Consult your attorney about your specific situation.
This article is provided by The Cincinnati Insurance Company, a bold insurance partner.