Even minor fender benders can shake up the most experienced driver. That’s why it’s important to brush up on post-accident procedures now, while you’re levelheaded.
What to Do After a Minor Car Accident
You’re rushing to get to an important appointment when it happens out of nowhere. You find yourself in the middle of a fender bender during peak rush hour. Thankfully, no one was injured, and there is seemingly no major damage to any of the vehicles involved. Should you exchange information with the other driver and go about the rest of your day? Read on to find out.
How to Handle Any Car Accident in 5 Easy Steps
Follow these steps to keep your stress levels down — and make the claims process much smoother.
- Make sure everyone is safe. Confirm that your passengers are OK, and then check on the passengers in the other vehicle. Dial 911 if anyone requires medical attention. And remember don’t move an injured person unless they are in immediate danger.
- Notify the police. How long do you have to file a police report after a car accident? Whether you’re involved in a minor accident or a major collision, it’s best to alert the police immediately and ask them to file a report. A police report is not only invaluable to the claims process, but it will also ensure that everything is documented accurately while helping to establish who’s at fault.
- Record the following information at the scene by taking notes:
- Location, date and time of the accident
- Names, addresses, telephone numbers and license numbers of drivers, passengers and witnesses
- Injuries to anyone involved in the accident
- License plate numbers, vehicle descriptions and damage
- Document the accident scene. Use your smartphone to take photos of all vehicles involved, from every angle. CarPics(SM), Plymouth Rock’s easy-to-use photo appraisal tool, lets you submit photos of your car right from your smartphone after submitting your claim. Also, take pictures of the accident scene, noting any hazards, skids marks and damage to the scene.
- File your insurance claim as soon as possible. If you’re a Plymouth Rock customer, file it online or call us at 844-346-1225. How long after a car accident can you file? The statute of limitations for reporting a car accident and personal injury suits or damages claims varies by state, so it’s best to file as soon as possible.
If you witness a car accident, follow these steps.
The Importance of Documenting the Accident
While it may seem tempting to simply exchange information with the other driver and go about your day, especially in the case of a minor fender bender with little or no damage involved, the best way to protect yourself is by following the steps above and documenting everything as soon as it happens. Unfortunately, in some cases people try to claim damage or injuries that weren’t caused by the accident. Other times, years could pass before the other person files a lawsuit against you. Your insurance company can try to inspect your vehicle then, but you may no longer be in possession of it or you may have already had the damages repaired. Pictures taken on the day of the accident, well-documented notes and a police report are the best evidence for defending yourself when someone is trying to make a claim that seems inconsistent with the accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault
You should file a claim with your insurance company even if you don’t think you’re at fault. What if, for instance, the other driver decides to sue you? Failure to report the accident could make it more difficult for your insurance company to gather evidence to represent you.
More Than Just Insurance
Getting into a car accident is stressful enough; filing your claim shouldn’t have to be. That’s why Plymouth Rock has designed our auto claim services* to simplify the claims process and get you back on the road in no time.
Let us manage the entire repair process with our Door to Door Valet Claim Service® — we’ll even arrange a rental car for customers with rental coverage. If you prefer to handle repairs yourself, one of our Crashbusters® vans can meet you almost anywhere, and, in many cases, issue you a check on the spot. Not sure where to get your car repaired? Take advantage of our Repair Shop Finder.
Learn more about filing a claim in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
*Certain discounts, coverages, payment plans, features and benefits are not available in all states and companies.