Accidents are nerve-wracking. Even if you’re a seasoned driver, a crash can leave you a little unsettled. Whether it is a fender-bender or major collision, the steps for reporting an accident and filing a claim are the same. Since your mind will be on other things such as staying safe, we wanted to give you a car accident checklist to help you navigate the stressful situation.
Before setting out on the road, you should be prepared which includes purchasing auto insurance. The state of Tennessee requires liability insurance to drive a vehicle. But, liability covers the other driver and any fees associated with the accident being your fault. If you are involved in a car accident, and there is damage to your car you will want to opt for collision insurance for additional protection.
Once you’ve purchased your insurance, your agent will send you an insurance card. The insurance card and car registration should always remain somewhere in your vehicle. Never drive without your driver’s license. Failure to have these at the time of the accident can result in penalties
What to do Immediately After an Accident
There are some steps you want to take immediately after the car accident takes place. Fortunately, not everyone has experience with getting into accidents, but when it does happen you want to be prepared by working through this car accident checklist.
- Check Yourself and Others for Injuries
- Get Yourself to Safety
- Call Emergency Services
- Turn on Hazard Lights
- Swap Information with Other Driver
- Personally Document the Accident
- Call Your Auto Insurance Provider
Car accidents happen in varying degrees. Some accidents are considered “fender benders,” and others are major collisions. Regardless of where it falls on this spectrum the most important thing you do is check yourself and others for injuries. If you’re seriously injured with sharp pains, don’t move and wait for emergency assistance to help you.
Check Yourself and Others for Injuries
If you can move and the other car is safe to approach, meaning you don’t have to cross an interstate or major intersection, you should check that they are ok. If anyone needs medical attention, you should call 911.
Get Yourself to Safety
If the accident is minor and you can safely move your vehicle out of the way of traffic you should move it to the shoulder. In the event your car is damaged severely, won’t start, or you are too injured to move it then you are allowed to leave it in its place.
Calling Emergency Services
Every state has different requirements when it comes to calling the police, but if there is an injury 911 should be called immediately to help those in need. You are required by the state of Tennessee to report an accident if there is an injury or death and if there are damages to personal property that exceed $400.
Turn on the Hazard Lights
While you are waiting for the authorities or emergency services, you will want to turn on your hazard lights or use road flares to indicate you are the ones who are in the accident.
Every state will outline exactly what it is they need from drivers when it comes to swapping information, but the state of Tennessee requires:
- Name, address and contact details
- Driver license number
- License plate number of the vehicles involved
- Auto insurance information for the motorists involved.
While exchanging information, it’s best to avoid discussing who is at fault or the details of the accident in general with the other driver. Wait until the police arrive and give your official statement to them directly.