Introduction: What to Do in a Car Crash
So you just got in a car crash or accident. What do you do next?
After the initial shock wears off, and you gather your wits, take a look at your surroundings. Were you hit by another car? Are you the only one involved in the accident? Are there any pedestrians involved?
Step 1: Collecting Witnesses
The first thing to do (after making sure you're physically okay yourself) is to look for witnesses. If you're not physically okay, the rest of this Instructable probably won't help you much. Usually, the people around the accident see this as a minor inconvenience, and will drive around you to continue along their way. This is a crucial time, as anyone who can corroborate your story later will be a big help. Stop the drivers politely, ask what they saw, and get their contact information.
Step 2: Collecting Evidence & Information
Do not move the vehicles yet. Take some pictures if you can (even cell phone pictures are useful!) of the scene from different angles. These may come in handy later when explaining the accident to police, insurance, etc. Now you may or may not clear the road for other motorists.
Next, inspect the damage done your your vehicle and other vehicles (if applicable). Depending on your local law, certain amounts of damage do not need to be reported to the police, and can be settled without police involvement. In Toronto, where I'm from, any damage exceeding $1000 requires a police report.
At this point, whether or not you decide to settle with insurance or not, be sure to collect information. Get the drivers' names, addresses, driver's license numbers, and insurance information of all parties involved. If one of the motorists is honest and claims to be at fault, have them write down a statement on a piece of paper, and sign it. Make sure each person involved gets a copy of this.
Step 3: After the Fact
Now, you should proceed accordingly to your local by-laws or as you see fit. Find out where the nearest collision reporting centre or police station is, if you choose to file a report and claim through insurance. If you choose to settle outside of insurance, then good luck! Your results may vary.
I have been involved in 3 accidents where I have not been at fault, two of them involving multiple vehicles, and by following these procedures, have always had my repairs taken care of by other insurance companies without paying my deductible, and with no negative impact on my premiums.
Usually, in a multi-vehicle accident. most of the vehicles will absorb some of the fault, but if you can keep your mind clear and document the situation properly, then you will come out on top!
Good luck, and drive safe!
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