If you have been in a severe auto accident, call 911 immediately. It is vital that you remain calm and focused so you can clearly answer any questions the 911 dispatcher asks you. If any of the other passengers in your vehicle are in need of immediate medical attention, the 911 dispatcher should be able to give you basic first aid instructions. If anyone has spinal or head injuries do not allow them to move. However, you should not restrain them, as this may increase the severity of their injuries. Leave all major medical assistance to emergency medical responders.
You can expect to feel anxious, or jittery immediately following the accident, this is due to adrenaline. While adrenaline is circulating through your body, you will have a higher pain tolerance. Therefore, you should not state that you are uninjured at the scene of the accident. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location and turn your hazard lights on. If your car isn’t moveable, remain inside, unless it is on fire, or in danger of exploding. Seek immediate medical care, even if you don’t feel any pain.
After you have received medical care and are ready to file an insurance claim; obtain a copy of the police report as this will expedite your claim.
What Does it Mean for my car to be Totaled?
Your car is considered totaled when the repair cost exceeds the market value of the vehicle. In this case, the insurance company may refuse to pay for repairs; and may instead offer a pay-out equal to the value of your car at the time of the accident.
If you Have Been in a Minor Accident
Check the status of your passengers, if no injuries were sustained, move your vehicle to a safe location, where traffic is minimal. Here you should exchange information with the other driver, take pictures to document the accident, and interview any witnesses that may be on the scene. Do not agree to settle damages without police involvement if you sustain any injuries. If the police are involved, get a copy of the police report as some insurance companies require them as a part of your Settlement Demand Packet.
If the police are on the scene, you don’t have to worry about gathering witness information, or documenting the scene. However, if the accident took place outside of police jurisdiction, such as in a parking lot, you may want to involve an administrator who has jurisdiction over the parking lot. For example, a store manager, or the owner of an apartment complex. It is best to have a neutral third party account of the accident scene, whenever possible, as it lends more credibility to your claims.
When interacting with the police and the other driver, do not admit fault or apologize for any driving mistakes. Do not speculate, only provide your own personal account of the facts. Don’t accept any compensation or promises from the other driver, outside of accepting an insurance settlement.