When you're in an accident, it can understandably shake you up. While there are some people who will remain calm and collected under even the most dire of circumstances, most of us are greatly affected by the impact. If you're injured, you may be preoccupied with the pain or discomfort. If there are no injuries, you can be swallowed up in the what-ifs (not to mention the damage to your car). From confronting another driver to calling your car insurance carrier, here are a few tips on how to conduct yourself.
Take a Deep Breath
No matter how bad the accident is, taking a deep breath can be the key to giving yourself room you need to tackle the next step. A car accident is like anything else in life: a series of steps. All you have to do is make it to each new step and you'll eventually get out on the other side.
Your job is to sort out everything before you leave the scene of the accident. Gather information about the other driver's plates, their license number and insurance policy documentation. If you can steer the car, you should be out of the line of traffic, for everyone's safety. If you have a smartphone, take photos of documents and damage so you have everything you need to file a claim.
Don't admit fault, even if you believe you were at fault. You may also want to speak to eyewitnesses and get their contact information in the event you need them to back up your statement. The standard advice is to call police if there was any type of injury or more than $1,000 in damage. However, the police may not always come to private property. So, if your accident took place in a parking lot or gas station, they may not be able to write out a report.
The sooner you tell your auto insurance company what happened, the better. If you wait too long, the damage can become worse — which can cause your carrier to deny the claim. Plus, the faster you can get your car fixed, the better it is for your car. Driving around a less-than-perfect vehicle can put unnecessary strain on the body or engine.
The key point?