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    What to do if You’re Involved in an Accident

    Elizabeth Emery · June 13, 2017 · Police Department News · 0 comments

    If you’re involved in a car accident, you should take care and get help right away. Do your best to stay calm and keep a level head so that you can stay safe, help officers complete their investigation, and move on quickly with minimal traffic disruption.

    • Pull over if you can: Whenever possible, you should move your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident to the side of the road, or ideally, off the roadway. You’ll clear the way and avoid impeding traffic. You will also be safer, as other motorists driving by the accident can hit you, causing injury or death, especially if they’re distracted by the accident.
    • Call the police: Call to get help right away, even if there are no injuries. With police on the scene, you’ll have an objective third party to record evidence and accurately determine the party at fault for the accident. Police officers will also keep the scene safer and direct traffic away from you and your vehicle while you’re vulnerable on the road.
    • Watch for hit and run drivers: Not all drivers will stay to sort out the details after an accident. Some will actually flee the scene, typically if they are at fault and/or driving without required insurance coverage. If the other driver involved in the accident tries to leave, do your best to write down their license plate number, or better yet, photograph their vehicle and license plate so that you can share this information with police and your insurance company.
    • Stay calm and assess the damage: Get out and check on passengers and the other driver. Do not respond emotionally or attack the other driver physically or verbally — even if they make an infuriating mistake. Determine the damage to both vehicles, taking care to stay out of the way of traffic.
    • Record information and take photos: When the police arrive, they will take each driver’s information, including insurance information, but you should write it down yourself just in case. Get license plate numbers, the names of the driver and passengers, make and model of their vehicle, and insurance information. Write down names and contact information for any witnesses an the name and badge number of police officers on the scene. Record the weather and traffic conditions, the location of the accident, and other important factors. You should also draw a diagram of the scene that you can send to your insurance company.
    • Get a tow or roadside assistance: If you can’t move your vehicle off the roadway on your own, you’ll need to get help quickly to avoid holding up the flow of traffic. Get a tow truck to move your vehicle off of the road and towed to a mechanic or dealership for repairs.
    • Get medical attention: You may receive emergency paramedic care on the scene and even be transported to a hospital if you have serious injuries. But even if you’re able to walk away from a crash, you may need medical care. Visit your doctor, urgent care center, or emergency room as soon as possible, especially if you lost consciousness at any point during the accident.
    • Call your insurance company: Let your insurance company know that you’ve been involved in an accident and start the claims process. If you’re not at fault, your premiums should not be impacted. Your insurance company can also help to get your claim pushed through with the other driver’s insurance company if they are the at fault party.
    • Replace car seats: If you have children, you should replace their car seats after an accident. Even after a minor car accident, car seats may no longer be safe, as they are designed to only be safe for one crash. Unseen damage may have happened even if the seat looks fine, so it’s safest to simply replace them. This expense is typically covered by insurance companies.
    • Follow up and get the police report: After the accident, contact the police department to get a copy of the police report. The responding officer should give you an identification number at the scene to make it easy to obtain the report. Keep in mind that it may take days or even weeks for the report to become available and you may have to pay an administrative fee.

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