What to Do After a Car Accident
You pulled up to a stoplight. Suddenly you heard the squeal of brakes and felt a bump from behind. Or, perhaps you were waiting to turn at a light and the driver of an oncoming car didn't stop for you.
Intersections can be dangerous, especially in unfamiliar cities and during rush hour. Dozens of drivers are making split-second decisions at the same time. Not all drivers communicate their intentions. Some will follow too closely. Others will fail to yield.
If you or a loved one is ever in an accident at an intersection, we're here to help. If you're a policyholder, start your car accident claim by following these simple steps.
At the Scene of an Intersection Accident
Check for injuries
Intersection accidents have the potential to cause serious injury. If anyone appears to be injured, immediately call 911 and begin providing first aid if needed.
Call the police
Report the accident to police. In addition to helping keep everyone safe, officers can help re-route traffic through the intersection and clear the scene. Most important, police officers will also file a formal accident report, which will help everyone involved in the claims process.
Exchange information with the other drivers involved
First, note the other vehicle's license plate number. (Snap of a photo with your phone if you don't have a pen and paper handy.) Introduce yourself and ask for the other driver's contact information. Unfortunately, some drivers will insist they are not at fault and that there is no reason to give you any information. If the other driver leaves the scene without communicating, the license plate number will help you track him or her down.
If there are independent witnesses, ask for their contact information and whether they'd confirm location of the vehicles and the course of events. (Passengers may not be considered independent witnesses; their view of what happened may be influenced by their involvement in the accident.)
Take detailed notes
Jot down the date, time, weather and driving conditions. Make notes about what happened, including what you saw, heard and felt. Write down the number of drivers and cars involved, as well as the number of passengers in each car, and any injuries you saw.
Take photos of the accident scene
If you have a smartphone or camera, take pictures of the scene. Photos help show what happened and the degree of damage. If you can, make a diagram to illustrate the course of events, too.
Once you're Safe at Home
Give us a call
Call to start a car accident claim or notify us that someone will be starting a claim against you. Have your policy number on hand. We'll ask you some basic questions about the accident. Call us regardless of how little damage you see. We're here to help.
Get a check-up for you and your vehicle
If you suffered any injuries, visit your doctor. Even if your vehicle does not appear to have major damage, there may be internal problems. Take it to an auto repair shop for a more thorough inspection just to be sure there are no issues.
Prevent Intersection Accidents
- Look at the upcoming intersection to understand traffic flow.
- Check both ways before entering an intersection.
- Use your blinker to alert other drivers around you that you are turning.
- Follow at a safe distance — at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
- Slow down for yellow lights.
- Focus on the intersection. Don't let your phone, radio, children or anything else distract you from safe driving.