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Steps on what to do after an auto accident

Knowing what to do after an automobile accident is easier said than done, especially when you're standing on the side of the road in bad weather with injured passengers and an angry driver pointing the finger at you. Here's an accident checklist for you to follow, especially when a stressful situation makes it difficult to think clearly:

Start With Safety -- Get to a safe location and switch on your hazard lights before doing anything else. If you have a roadside safety kit, set up warning triangles, light sticks or emergency cones to direct other drivers around the accident scene.

Assess Injuries -- Determine if anyone has sustained any injuries so you can make an accurate report to the police and, if necessary, call for medical help as soon as possible. If you have a first aid kit, do what you can to tend to injuries while you wait for help.

Contact the Police -- If there's a dispute or the other party isn't cooperating, contact the police. Even for minor accidents, many states require that you call the police if there are any injuries or if the damage exceeds a certain amount. Check your state's laws for more information.

Exchange Information -- Obtain contact and insurance information from the other driver. This should include full name, contact details, insurance company and policy number, driver's license and plate number, and vehicle model and description.

Document the Details -- Take a moment to record your recollection of events. It's a good idea to use your phone's camera to take pictures of the damage, the accident scene and injuries in case a future dispute should arise.

Report It to Your Insurance Company -- Contact your insurance company and have the proper damage assessment done right away.


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