Being in an auto accident can be a traumatizing experience. But with thousands of crashes a day occurring in the United States, ranging from fender benders to multi-vehicle pile-ups, accidents have become a fact of life that you can and should prepare for.

Before the Crash

Well-prepared drivers keep a number of things in their glove box, just in case they are in an accident. Just about everyone knows that you should keep your auto insurance information with you in the glove box, but there are a few other items that should be in there also. Keep a notebook and a pen or pencil so that you can write down any particulars after the crash. If you ever have to litigate the accident, having notes on hand that were written moments after the accident can be very useful.

Another great thing to keep in your glove box is a disposable camera. This camera lets you record the accident exactly as it was. When taking pictures, be sure to get street signs or traffic lights in the shot if you can. And remember to take shots from all angles – high, low, in front of, and behind the car. These shots can be shown to the jury to help them get a full perspective of the damage to your car.

After the Accident

The first thing to do is to make sure that everyone in your car and the other car are ok. If they are not, request an ambulance when you call 911.

Always stay at the scene of the accident until the police have arrived and left. Be sure to write down the name of the officer in your notebook and make sure that he or she takes down your version of what happened for the accident report.

Exchange names, addresses, license numbers, and insurance information with the other driver(s).

When You Get Home

Review your insurance policy to make sure of your coverage. You might want to keep a running list of questions for the insurance company and the other driver’s company.

Report the accident promptly to your insurance company. While this might seem unnecessary to you, especially in a minor accident, it is important to keep your insurance company in the loop. You also should not be afraid of rate hikes. State law generally protects you from rate increases in accidents that were not your fault.

If the other insurance company calls you to try to settle the case, you probably want to call and check with an attorney before talking to them or signing anything. If you don’t, you may end up with more injuries or car damage than the insurance company will pay for. If you’ve already signed the document, you’ll find yourself out of luck when you try to ask for more money.

Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld with your questions and concerns about a car crash or an injury you sustained.