So, you’ve gotten into a fender-bender. Someone behind you wasn’t paying attention when you pulled up to a red light and gave you a little surprise. Or maybe someone backed into you while you were pulling out in a grocery store parking lot. Whatever the incident, getting into an automobile accident – severe or casual – is a stressful endeavor. Your mind is likely racing. If you have passengers, you’re probably doing your best to keep them calm, too. What if there are injuries? What if your car was completely totaled in the incident?
What do you do?
The best thing to do is to know what your next steps are before they even need to be taken. Part of that comes with learning what to do after an automobile accident and the necessary steps you’ll need to be taking in order to ensure everything is in order, that everyone is safe, and that you can get back to normal as soon as possible.
Here’s Hitchings Insurance’s guide on what to do after an automobile accident.
At the scene of the incident –
After an accident has happened, you’re likely to feel foggy, erratic, stressed – that’s normal. It’s a stressful situation! It’s better to know what to do in advance so that you can keep somewhat of a level head if an accident ever happens.
Here’s what to do at the scene of an incident.
Stop. If you do not stop after your vehicle has been involved in a collision, you could be subject to demerit points – and even criminal prosecution.
If someone has been seriously injured or if you suspect that the other driver is impaired, call 9-1-1. Ask the police for a copy of their report and/or their file number, if they’ve been assigned to your case.
Never move anyone who has been injured. Ensure the safety of everyone involved. Never stand between the two vehicles to inspect damages – your safety could be jeopardized.
If your vehicle can be driven, move it safely to the side of the road and out of traffic. If you fail to do so, it could result in further damages and limit the reimbursement provided by your insurance company.
If there is a suspected impaired driver or serious injury, vehicles will need to remain.
If your vehicle cannot be driven, turn on your hazard lights or otherwise indicate that your car cannot be moved. Passengers must leave the vehicle and walk to a safe location unless they are seriously injured and cannot be moved.
Only report to the police if:
Someone was injured.
One of the drivers does not have a license, registration, or insurance.
One or more vehicles involved cannot be driven.
The perceived damage totals more than $2,000.
Failure to report to the police could result in a fine or demerit points.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party.
If your vehicle is drivable, you can leave the collision scene.
Now, you need to notify your insurance provider to get information on your next steps.
Notifying your insurer.
Once you’ve reported the incident to your local police, it’s time to advise your insurance provider of what transpired. There are a few different parts that come with an accident claim. There is the property damage component, the economic losses, and the non-economic losses.
Property damage is obvious – it’s the amount of your claim that has been associated with any damages to your vehicle. If your vehicle has been damaged beyond repair (totaled), the insurance company will gauge a total value based on their estimates of your car minus its depreciation (unless you have an endorsement with a brand-new vehicle) and pay it out to you in the form of a settlement.
Economic losses are costs/future costs that are associated with any injuries you suffered from the accident, including hospital and doctor bills, costs for medical equipment, emergency service bills, wages and lost income, and costs for physical therapy.
Non-economic losses are resulted in any alterations to your lifestyle because of your car accident, such as emotional trauma. These losses are far more complex and, if suffered, may necessitate the involvement of additional professionals.
The claims process can be expedited if you are diligent at the scene of the accident and take as many photos as possible of the damages. Give clear, concise descriptions of what happened. Ideally, restoration is possible – so long as you answer all the questions your insurance company asks you and give them as much info as possible. Depending on the extent of your auto insurance coverage, you should be able to restore your vehicle (or find a suitable replacement) and get back to life as per usual shortly after the accident.
What happens if I was at fault in the accident?
In Ohio, the minimum mandatory auto insurance policy will cover bodily injury liability and property damage liability. If you are found to be at fault in your accident, and the costs exceed the total amount of your policy’s coverage, you may be held responsible for the remaining expenses. It helps to work with an agent from Hitchings Insurance to gauge what coverage amount is best for you. Hitchings Insurance Agency works with some of the best auto insurance companies around and has many options when it comes to finding you coverage fitted to your unique budget and needs.
Give us a call today (419-423-9145) or click below to discuss auto insurance and your needs.