What to Do After a Car Accident

A car accident is the last thing anyone wants to deal with, both from a logistical and safety perspective. However, while you can reduce your chances of a collision by following guidelines and driving carefully, you can never fully eliminate the likelihood of an accident because some things are out of your control, like the other drivers on the road or unpredictable road hazards.

After a car accident, it's one of the most challenging times to be methodical and calm. You may be dizzy, shocked, full of adrenaline, or full of rage at the person you believed caused the collision. You may even be all of the above. However, it's crucial to calm yourself as much as possible and document all aspects of the collision to save yourself time, energy, and money later.

At Suburban Collision Centers, we know about collisions. We are not only here to help repair your vehicle to its formal standards but also provide you with the information that you need to address collisions with confidence. Consider our tips for everything from what to do immediately after an accident to working with a claims adjuster.

Actions Immediately After a Collision

Safety First

  • If the accident is minor, move the vehicles out of traffic to a safer location. The last thing that you want is to continue to be at risk or increase the risk for others on the road.
  • Make sure that your car is in park, that the engine is off, and turn on the hazard lights.
  • Set up cones, warning triangles, or flares, if they are accessible.
  • If there appears to be any danger of a fire or explosion, get everyone a safe distance away.

Get Help

  • Check for Injuries: If you, your passengers, or any of the passengers in the vehicle seem injured, call an ambulance. This can be the first step if the situation is dire enough. Even if you are in doubt, it's better to address injuries swiftly for both safety and documentation.
  • Call the Police: Even if the collision is minor and everyone is cooperating, a police report is extremely useful to the claim process and will help establish who is at fault.
 

Exchange Information and Document the Collision

Some state laws differ in the amount of information that you are expected to give at the scene of an accident. Most of the time, you are expected to exchange your name and insurance information with any other drivers involved. We recommend that you keep your interactions limited to a necessary exchange of information so that you don't admit fault or blame the other person.

The information that you will want to gather as much of as possible includes:

  • Drivers and Passengers: Record their names and contact information.
  • Vehicle Descriptions: The make, model, and year of any vehicle involved in the accident.
  • Driver's License Numbers
  • Insurance Companies and Policy Numbers
  • Eyewitnesses: Ask for the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses available.
  • Record the Accident Scene Location and/or Address
  • Document the Police Officer's Name and Badge Number

We also recommend that you take pictures of the accident scene if it is safe to do so. Do not sign any document unless it is from the police or your insurance agent. And remember to be polite and not to tell anyone that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.

There are smartphone apps available to help you with the documentation process so that you don't have to do everything from memory. We also recommend that if you have a pen and paper ready or drawing capabilities on your phone that you draw a diagram of the scene, make notes about how the collision occurred, and include the direction each vehicle was traveling.

File a Claim

While it may be tempting to offer to cover minor damages out of pocket and avoid dealing with insurance companies, you will likely find that it is more costly than you think. Consumer Reports found that many test crashes just under 10 MPH caused damage that appeared minor but cost between 3,000 to 6,000 dollars.

It's also possible that you may not know what injuries you sustained even in a minor collision. Whiplash can create unforeseen medical issues that may not be obvious while adrenaline is coursing through you. Filing a claim and covering all your bases will help you in case you need to follow up with medical expenses.

Call your insurance company as soon as possible after documenting the accident and report any damages to the best of your ability. Some insurance companies make it possible to file a claim with a smartphone app for more convenience.

Repairing Your Vehicle

Although the thought of tackling collision repairs can be a daunting one, our team has plenty of experience and is here to help you every step of the way. Once you have completed the steps above, you can get started on the road to restoring your vehicle to meet or exceed factory standards. These are some of the steps you can plan for when repairing your vehicle after a collision:

Schedule an Inspection

The first step of the process is to find out the exact condition of your vehicle. Your insurance company will likely request that you have your vehicle inspected for a repair cost estimate. Our team has the equipment and expertise to diagnose damage, give accurate estimates, and work with your insurance company. With our team on the job, you will experience transparency and convenience on a new level.

Contact a Claims Adjuster

The job of a claims adjuster is to determine how much the insurance company should pay. They look at everything from vehicle damage to medical expenses to see the big picture. They will also consult the police report and eyewitnesses to determine fault. Since the insurance company doesn't want to pay for past damage, it's the job of the claims adjuster to find out what damage occurred from the result of the collision.

Once the claims adjuster has taken all the information into consideration, they will determine the cost estimates.

Repair Your Vehicle

We are happy to help restore your vehicle once you have filed your insurance claim and your coverage is confirmed. When you choose our collision center, you will find a facility that far exceeds what you may expect from your average repair shop. With our state-of-the-art facility, specialized equipment, and expert technicians, you will have the peace of mind that you need.

Our ASE- and manufacturer-certified technicians have the experience and know-how to return your vehicle to its pre-collision quality. By using modern equipment and tools, we can restore your vehicle to manufacturer-recommended condition. We utilize a computerized color matching system to find the exact paint color needed for your vehicle.

We also use Chief EZ Liner frame machines to ensure your vehicle meets factory specifications. For even more assurance in the quality of our work, all repairs completed at Suburban Collision Centers are backed by a lifetime warranty.

Contact Us

We understand that collision repairs can be stressful, but our team is here to help streamline your experience and provide a high degree of satisfaction. Contact collision center today to get started!

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