7 Things You Need to Do Right Away After a Car Accident
Stopping at red lights, following the speed limit, and keeping your eyes on the road — these are just some of the most basic rules to follow on the road in Brampton or anywhere else. But how many drivers are following them? Unfortunately, not a lot do, and at worst, they hurt others, resulting in a car accident.
Whether a collision is large enough that vehicles are totalled, and drivers and passengers are injured, or the damage is minor, any car accident is exactly that — dangerous, disruptive to the flow of traffic, stressful for everyone involved, and in worse cases, even life-threatening.
Your immediate concern is getting out of this mess so that you can get your affairs in order. These include alerting the authorities, seeking medical attention, and assessing the damage to your vehicle, as well as other losses you may suffer, such as not being able to work while you recover or tend to repairs.
Easing back into your daily routine — and on the roads in Brampton — starts with keeping track of everything you need to do after a car accident. With quick action and the support of a comprehensive auto insurance policy, you can protect yourself from further damage, and get back behind the wheel.
1. Stop and check your surroundings
A collision will force your vehicle to come to a stop because of the impact, but not all drivers stop. In fact, hit-and-run offenders will keep driving to avoid getting caught.
This is illegal and can result in increased fines and harsher penalties; it’s one thing to cause an accident if you were driving under the influence or were distracted, but it’s another to try and escape liability altogether by fleeing the scene. This applies even when the damage is minor.
2. Check to see if anyone is hurt
A car accident is dangerous, and depending on its extent, may even be life-threatening. Anyone hurt — even without obvious signs, such as bleeding and bruising from whiplash — needs to get checked out by first responders.
If anyone is seriously hurt, avoid moving them as this can aggravate their injuries. Call 911 right away and ask for medical emergency help, as even a minor concussion can worsen when left untreated.
3. Call the cops
A car accident is a matter of the law. That’s because these road incidents are often caused by a traffic violation, such as speeding, driving under the influence, or being distracted. The police will need to figure out who is responsible for the accident, and from there, determine the degree of liability for criminal prosecution.
If the damage is minor and no one is hurt, you may be directed to call the local Collision Reporting Centre to file a report with them instead.
4. Should I move my vehicle?
Any road incident disrupts the flow of traffic — the area around a collision is undrivable, which congests traffic and prolongs the normal commute for other motorists. It is inconvenient for all, but don’t be so quick to move your vehicle away from the scene.
You should only move your vehicle to the side of the road if the damage is minor, and if the police have advised you to do so. This usually happens once the collision is properly documented to avoid losing evidence as the facts of the accident are established in the investigation of both the police and auto insurance providers.
5. Don’t apologize prematurely
It’s normal for emotions to run high in a car accident — drivers are stressed due to the damage and could be injured. At the height of the panic, you may feel the need to apologize or blurt out a quick “sorry,” but you shouldn’t.
Any premature apology can be interpreted as a sign of guilt and liability, which can work against you in the investigation — even if the accident was not your fault. Instead, limit conversations and only speak with the proper authorities, and let them determine liability.
6. Establish the facts of the accident
Did you beat the red light? Was it your turn at the intersection? Was the other party driving dangerously, whether by speeding or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol? These are just some of the basic facts of the accident that need to be established to determine who is at fault.
To start, you’ll need to know who the other involved parties are. Record their names, address, contact information, license plate, vehicle identification number, make and model of their car, and insurance information.
These details help you keep track of them and are required to file an auto insurance claim in Brampton. To help with this process, you should take photos of the entire scene, the damage up-close, identifying details of the time and location of the collision, and other details that will help establish what happened.
Other information you need to record, includes contact information of potential witnesses, as well as notes about the driving conditions, weather, and visibility level in Brampton — these could have contributed to the crash.
Make a note of the police officers who respond to your 911 call and record their names, badge number, and contact information. These details guarantee a factual and successful auto insurance claim.
7. Call your auto insurance provider — they’re available 24/7
Auto insurance providers are often available 24/7 and offer dedicated lines for accident reporting and assistance.
You need to call them right away to initiate an auto insurance claim, and depending on your coverage, even receive additional emergency assistance, such as a guaranteed towing service, to avoid falling for costly tow truck scams. This ensures that accurate information is reported to your provider.
Whether you are found to be at fault or not, alerting your auto insurance provider is the best — and most responsible — thing to do.
Other parties may offer to settle the matter privately, such as compensate you for the cost of repairs under the table, rather than go through insurance to avoid risking a hike in their insurance premium. But there’s no guarantee that these strangers will actually pay up, or even agree with the price of the repair you are quoted.
If you are found to be not at fault, your premiums will not increase — don’t risk an under-the-table repair when you can get full coverage following an accident you did not cause.
Similarly, don’t extend the same offer if you are at fault. While it’s tempting to cough up the cost of vehicle damages out-of-pocket than risk the increase of insurance premiums, this may not be your smartest — and most sustainable — option.
For one, if it’s your first collision, most comprehensive auto insurance policies offer accident forgiveness, which prevents premium hikes. Aside from vehicle damage, there may be other liabilities, such as the cost of medical or rehabilitative treatment and lost wages. These liabilities are often covered in auto insurance policies.
In the end, calling your auto insurance provider right away is in your best interest. Determining liability and paying out damages are exactly why insurance is required, so let your coverage work for you — and leave the nitty-gritty details to the pros for fast resolution.
Protect yourself on the road. Start with the right auto insurance policy, and get the assistance you need to file a successful claim and get back behind the wheel.
To learn more about what to do immediately after a car accident, call Goodison Insurance at 1 800-403-7703 or contact us here.