Follow these 10 basic steps if you’re involved in a minor car accident.
Let’s face it, mistakes happen. We have all been involved in, or have witnessed, a minor car accident at some point in our daily commutes.
If it’s your first accident, you may not know how to properly handle the situation. Although a minor fender bender may not seem like a big deal, it’s still important to make sure you’re prepared to handle the situation in the best way possible.
We have compiled a list of helpful steps on what to do if you’re ever in a minor car accident. Take note of these guidelines, and make sure to carry them with you the next time you set foot in your vehicle.
- Stay calm. This is one of the most important things to do in this situation. Getting angry or flying off the handle won’t help anyone – especially yourself. Remember that it’s called an accident for a reason. Whether it’s your first accident or not, it is crucial that you stay in a calm and composed manner throughout the entire situation.
- Safety first. Drivers involved in a minor car accident with no serious injuries should move their vehicles over to the side of the road and out of oncoming traffic. If there is no safe place to wait, or you can’t move your vehicles to the side of the road, then make sure to stay seated in your vehicles with your seatbelts on and hazard lights blinking until help arrives.
- Grab your emergency kit. Every driver should carry an emergency kit in their vehicle at all times. The most common place to store your kit is in the glove compartment. But, if you carry any flares, it is best to store the kit in the trunk. Your emergency kit will help you alert oncoming traffic or help with minor bumps or bruises. Most kits include a flashlight and batteries, cones, flares, and first aid essentials.
- Call the police. In the state of Louisiana you are required to call the police in a car accident whether or not you think anyone is injured. It is better for the police to make that decision, and it’s always good to have law enforcement at the scene of the accident for liability purposes. If the accident is extremely minor, you may want to just call the local police directly instead of calling 911.
- Avoid admitting fault or directing blame. Even if you think the accident was absolutely your fault, it is important to avoid the blame game. It is the job of the police and insurance companies to figure out who is at fault.
- Exchange driver information. After you have taken a deep breath, make sure to swap information with the other involved driver. The essential information you will need to exchange will be their name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, drivers license number, and license plate number. Also take note of the car model and color and the location of the accident. (An important note: if the name of the driver is different from the name on the insurance, make sure to collect the insured person’s name, address, and their relationship with the driver.)
- Photograph the scene. If you have a camera on your cell phone, make sure to take documentation of the accident. This way, you have solid evidence of the accident that can be transferred to the local police and your insurance companies.
- File an accident report. In minor car accidents, law enforcement may not respond unless there are injuries. Both drivers should file a state vehicle accident report, which can be found at your town’s local police station or the Department of Motor Vehicle’s Website. Filing the accident report often helps speed up the insurance claims process.
- Call Your insurance company. Regardless of who caused the accident, make sure to call your insurance company and report the accident as soon as possible, to save time and future aggravation.
- Relax. Before leaving the accident, make sure to relax and gather all of the proper information. If everyone is safe and unharmed, take a deep breath and recognize that accidents happen.
By remembering these steps, you’ll be more confident and calm in an auto accident. These things happen, and Guffey Insurance Agency, Inc. is here to help you during the claims process.
If you have more questions about how to handle a minor car accident or what to do next, give us a call at (225) 291-4544 and our experienced insurance agents will speak with you directly.
Photo Credit: CC Image Courtesy of John