What to do (and what not to do) after a car accident according to NerdWallet
🚔 Should you call police?
Err on the side of calling 911, let dispatchers decide whether to send a police response based on location of the accident and whether anyone is injured. Every state law will be different. Some laws dictate police response based on the damage done in the crash. But because you are not an expert at estimating damage, lean toward the notion of calling police, just in case.
🚖 Pull off the road or stay put?
Safety first. Be careful if you step out of the car that you can do so safely. If you have a relatively minor accident and you're in the roadway, you could be in danger of causing another accident. If you're not on a major roadway, you can set up flares or other warning devices about the accident scene. But always prioritize safety in this decision.
🚘 What not to say
It's simple, but if the other driver asks if you're okay, don't say "I'm okay." You may have just given away an opportunity for medical reimbursement if in fact you are injured. Don't admit fault either. Take a deep breath, control your emotions and say as little as possible.
🚖 Info you should or should not exchange
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, while individual state laws may vary, in most cases you need only provide your name and insurance information. Divulging more than that such as your address, driver's license number could put you at risk for identity fraud. Reed adds that you may be expected to offer some kind of contact information like a mobile phone number and/or email for the other driver to get ahold of you. Reed believes a lot of outdated information and advice is being circulated - even outdated laws - given the increased sensitivity to identity theft. Make sure you get names and contact info of the other passengers involved in the accident and/or witnesses.
🚘 Best ways to exchange info
One option is to stay in your car and not emerge until the police arrive. That helps you avoid that interaction with the other driver, especially if their emotions are heightened and accusations are being made. At the least, snap a photo of their vehicle and license plate info as you wait. If you feel inclined to share driver's license info, you can show the other driver the license but not allow them to hold it, or take a photo of it. Do document their insurance information, and do consider taking a picture of their name and insurance info, along with the VIN number of their vehicle which can be found on the windshield of their car. If an officer responds, asks him/her where you can get a copy of the police report which you'll need for your insurance claim.
🚖 Take pictures / video / notes / audio
Take pictures of the scene, including skid marks created, traffic signals, anything impeding traffic signals, Consider taking a panoramic shot of the scene to show the full picture of the scene. Take pictures of the damage on both vehicles, along with license plate and VIN number of the other vehicle. Take a picture of a clock on your to document the time of the accident. You can also take video of the scene, if it's possible to do that safely. As soon as possible after the accident, write down everything you can remember about what happened. And/or record an audio memo for yourself.
🚘 Plan for an accident, especially for teen drivers
It's hard to remember everything you're supposed to do. Statistics show many teenagers get into an accident within the first two years of driving. Put your name and contact info on your insurance card and have that at the ready to share with the other motorist in the crash. Create a checklist of things to do after an accident and keep that in your car; have teen drivers keep that checklist in their car. You can also make use of insurance phone apps that sometimes include a checklist of what to do after a crash.
🚖 What if the other driver is uninsured? And other red flags.
Don't sign anything at the scene that the other driver is offering. Be aware of someone who is offering to pay for your damages to avoid either of you filing a claim. If they're uninsured, call 911 immediately and get as much information you can from them as soon as possible.
🚘 Be careful about any communication after the accident
Don't have direct contact with the other driver, allow your insurance company to handle all communication. Also be careful about communication with your own insurance company. Be truthful, responsible and accurate, but stick to your story as you communicate with parties involved, understanding they may not always be on your side when it comes to protecting you and your liability.
🚖 Work diligently within the first 24-72 hours
Understand that you may have deadlines either with the DMV or with your insurance company in terms of filing a claim or an accident report
🚘 Carry an emergency kit
Check that you have an emergency kit in your car that includes first aid supplied, food, water, flares, hazard triangles, and a flashlight.
What to do if you're being physically attacked
Create a family safety plan
Develop a warrior mindset ahead of time
Identify your vulnerabilities
Parking lot safety (leaving a store)
Personal safety tools
Senior Citizen Self-Defense
Make use of diversion safes
Ridesharing safety for Uber/Lyft experiences
Credit card, debit card safety
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