What should I do when involved in a car accident?

Even minor car accidents are stressful. This is especially true when fault is disputed or when multiple vehicles are involved in a single accident. In this case, it's important to take the proper steps to prevent the situation from becoming much worse. Taking the proper steps also helps you when making an accident claim after the dust has settled. 

First and foremost, you want to ensure that all involved are physically OK. If injuries are present, contact emergency medical personnel as soon as possible. If there are no injuries, determine whether you need to move your vehicle, if you're able. In most cases, it's best to leave your vehicle where it's stopped. However, if you're blocking traffic and increasing the risk of another accident, try to move your vehicle to a safe location. Whatever you do, do not leave the scene.

Next, contact law enforcement. Police can help with traffic direction, but they will also file an accident report regarding what occurred. Accident reports are extremely beneficial when filing an accident claim. They establish an unbiased version of events, which is helpful for insurance adjusters to make a determination. After the accident, it's best to limit conversations about what occurred with any other drivers. Instead, focus discussion on the police officer present. Refrain from admitting fault, however. 

It's also recommended that you collect as much information at the scene as you're able. Get the police officer's badge number and name so you can later request a copy of the accident report. You should also ask for the names and insurance companies of any other drivers involved, as well as the names of any witnesses. If you can, try to take a few pictures of the accident scene with your phone. These can be submitted to your insurance company to help them make a decision. 

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