Car accidents are stressful events that seem to raise dozens of questions at once: Should I call the police? Should I move my car? Is it safe to drive home? This tip sheet will guide you through the most important decisions you need to make before and after you've been in a collision.
No matter how careful you are, car accidents happen. The best way to make the aftermath as painless as possible is to have all the necessary paperwork on hand. Keep your registration and car insurance papers easily accessible-and make sure you have the right coverage to fit your needs. You can determine which kind of car insurance is best for you by using Allstate's Bumper-to-Bumper Basics® tool.
In the event of a car accident, the first you thing you should do is ask if everyone is okay. If anyone seems groggy or unsure of his or her response, call 9-1-1. Many injuries can't be seen, and the shock of a car accident can delay symptoms. To ensure the health of everyone involved, it's better to be safe than sorry.
You and your passengers should relocate to the sidewalk or shoulder of the road as soon as possible following an accident. If the damage to your car is minor and the accident is straightforward, you can move the vehicle to the shoulder, as well. But if there are any injuries involved or you have any questions about the safety of driving the car, leave it where it is-even if it's blocking traffic. You may also want to leave the car as is if there are questions about who's at fault. No one wants to be the cause of a traffic jam, but it's important to give the police the evidence they need to do their jobs. As you wait for the police, use flares to show other drivers that you're stopped and stay as far away from the flow of moving traffic as possible
Even if it seems like the damage is minor, calling the police is crucial to get a report on record. You should also call your insurance agent while you're on the scene. That way, they can tell you exactly what they will need to process the claim, which can save you from going back and forth between the police and your insurance agency in the days following the accident. Plus, if you have Allstate's Towing and Labor Roadside Assistance, your agent can help you get your car towed to a recommended auto repair shop in your area.
You should also avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the other driver. Only speak with your lawyer and the police about the details of the collision. Also, do not sign any statements or promise to pay for any damages without first consulting your lawyer.
When you finish filing your report, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver before you leave. The most important information includes:
- Full name and contact information
- Insurance company
- License plate number
- Type, color and model of vehicle
- Location of accident
- Full names and phone numbers of any witnesses
The impact of a car accident can last for weeks, but being prepared-and having the right insurance coverage-can make a world of difference. To learn how Allstate can put you in good hands, get a fast, no-obligation quote
online, find an agent near you
or call us at 1-866-621-6900.
Published: January 2012