When you get into a car accident, it’s easy to sink into panic – especially if you’ve never been in an accident before. With your adrenaline and nerves at a high, you may not be able to think straight. After you realize you’re okay, you will find yourself reaching for your phone, and when you do, we hope that these guidelines can be of some help to you. Here are our 10 suggested steps to take after an auto accident:
What to Do When a Collision Occurs
1. Assess the Condition of Everyone Involved.
If you can, keep your vehicle exactly as it is at the accident scene. If you are in the way of traffic, and it’s best to move your vehicle out of the way, be sure to take photos before doing so.
2. Decide Whether to Move the Vehicles or Not.
Use your best judgment in this situation. If you and the car would be safer, consider moving it out of the way of traffic. If driving conditions are dangerous, visibility is poor, other vehicles are traveling fast and/or traffic is heavy, it may be better to move the vehicle to the side or shoulder of the road. This will help prevent causing other accidents.
You should only move the car if it is clear who is the at-fault driver. For the sake of security, take photos of the car and scene before moving it.
If there are many cars involved or it’s best not to move the car from the scene of the accident, stay put. In these cases, you’ll want to stay inside your car with your seatbelt on, and make sure that your car is visible with your hazard lights. You may also want to set out flares or road cones to ensure that other drivers modify their speed when approaching the crash.
3. Call the local emergency departments (police, ambulance, fire) or call 9-1-1.
In most states it is required by law that before you can leave the scene of an accident, if anyone is injured, or there is any significant property damage, the local authorities must be notified. It’s a mistake to just exchange names and phone numbers with the other driver and leave the scene.
Please remember that many stations do not have their own in-house dispatchers and you must call 9-1-1 for police or fire assistance! We’ve provided these office phone numbers as an additional resource!
Aston Police and Fire Non-Emergency Phone Numbers
Here are the most important phone numbers you’ll need if you’re involved in an accident in Aston, PA:
|Emergency Department||Non-Emergency Office Phone Number||Address|
|PA State Police – Media||(484) 840-1000||1342 W. Baltimore Pike, Media, PA 19014|
|Aston Township Police Department||(610) 497-2633||5021 Pennell Road, Aston, PA 19014|
|Aston Township Fire Department||(610) 494-6771||2900 Dutton Mill Road, Aston, PA 19014|
Malvern Police and Fire Non-Emergency Phone Numbers
Here are the most important phone numbers you’ll need if you’re involved in an accident in Malvern, PA:
|Emergency Department||Non-Emergency Office Phone Number||Address|
|PA State Police – Coatesville||(610) 486-6280||997 Lieds Road, Coatesville, PA 19320|
|Malvern Police Department||(610) 647-0261||1 E. First Avenue, Suite 1, Malvern, PA 19355|
|Malvern Fire Company||(610) 647-0693||424 E. King Street, Malvern PA, 19355|
4. Take Photos.
If you’re involved in a car accident, you should take photos of the following:
- Any damage: vehicles and/or property
- Accident scene: road conditions/skid marks/debris in roadway/vehicle positions
- Accident scene location identifiers: intersection/street signs/address/exit number
- Identification: clear photos of driver’s licenses, insurance cards, license plates, etc.
5. Exchange information.
You’ll want to exchange information, which includes:
- Those involved: Full names of anyone who was involved in the collision, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses of all occupants including the number of people in the other car(s)
- Potential witnesses: Full names, contact numbers, addresses and email addresses of ALL potential witnesses of the accident
- Location of the incident: address, intersection exit number if applicable- anything to help identify the location of the accident itself
- All insurance information: Insurance company name, policy number and phone number
- Emergency services info: If emergency services respond, you’ll want all the information for each unit responding (the name of the police department, officer’s name, badge number, phone number to the station, police report number, and same goes for the ambulance company, fire company, etc.)
6. Do Not Discuss Fault.
Whatever you do, do not discuss whose fault the accident was, even if the other party was clearly at fault. It may end up starting an argument, and emotions are high right after a traumatic experience. However, if the other driver admits fault, make sure to make a mental note of it.
When you have a moment, the sooner the better, document exactly what was said. Even if you feel you may have been partially at fault. “Fault” is often determined off facts and complicated laws, and it’s best to leave that for the police to decide- or an attorney when necessary.
7. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company.
You’ll need most of the information listed above for your insurance company, so having it handy will make the process go smoothly.
8. Contact Your Local Auto Body Shop.
When you are ready to get repairs done, know that different insurance companies can recommend a particular shop, but you are in no way under legal obligation to use the shop they recommend. You have the legal right to select the body shop of your choice.
We will work with your insurance company and make sure it’s a smooth and seamless repair process. Also, some insurance companies will insist that a shop NOT use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts, as they are most likely more expensive than after-market parts. You as a consumer have the right to know which kinds of parts are being used on the repair of your vehicle.
Sometimes your policy will let you choose which you’d prefer. An insurance company has the right to inspect your vehicle throughout the repair process, but it’s not a requirement. In addition, they cannot make it a requirement that you visit one of their own claim centers. Badell’s Collision in Aston and Malvern, PA offer free online estimates and in-person estimates.
9. Learn from Your Mistakes.
Make sure you remember this accident and learn from it somehow. It may save you from making a similar mistake a second time. Although you will remember what happened, it’s also important to let yourself move on from what happened. Accidents happen – they’re a fact of life. Don’t let it consume you.
Get informed about Car Safety Ratings and the Real Risk of Injury in Accidents.
10. Continue Driving Safely!
With the start of fall so close, you may find that there are more cars on the road – or that people are just driving more erratically to get their children to school or after-school activities on time! With this in mind, we urge you to check out these helpful safe driving tips for fall based upon Pennsylvania driving statistics from the year 2016.