What to Do if You've Been in an Auto Accident

What to Do if You've Been in an Auto Accident

Have you been in an auto accident?  Follow these steps to take to make sure everyone is safe, your insurance claim is processed, and your car is repaired properly.

Safety First

If your accident is minor, move your vehicle out of traffic. If not, place your car in park, turn it off, and put on your hazard lights. Get out of the vehicle only if you can do so safely. Be careful to avoid traffic and head to a safe place.

Check to see if anyone is injured. If there is an injury or if you are unsure, call 911.

Call the Police

Even if the accident is minor or happens on private property, you need to call the police. They’ll talk to the drivers as well as any witnesses, get both drivers’ information, and write up a report. This report can be invaluable when it comes time to establish fault.  

Don’t say that you were at fault in the accident. You could be upset and not thinking clearly, and you may also be unclear about the law. Be honest with the officer about what happened and let him or her and the insurance company decide who’s at fault.

Collect Information

The police will obtain information from the involved parties, including the drivers’ and passengers’ names and contact information, vehicle descriptions, insurance company names and policy number, witnesses’ name and contact information. You should receive a copy of the Drivers' Exchange of Information form at the scene. Ask the officer how to obtain the police report once it is filed.

Take Photos

If you’re able to do so safely, use your cell phone to take photos of both cars, as well as the scene. Photos can help your claim move more quickly and give your insurer more information about who is at fault.

Take close-up photos of the damage and a wider photo showing the position of the cars involved. Also photograph the weather conditions and any signs, traffic signals, or other objects that will help set the scene and provide more information to your insurance company.

Call Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company’s claims number, or local agent if available. It is preferable to call while you’re still at the scene of the accident, but not necessary.

Your insurer will walk you through the process on filing your claim. If you are a claimant under a second party's insurance policy, you can call the company listed on the driver's information exchange to see if a claim has been started.

Have Your Car Towed if Necessary

In some cases, your car may not be drivable after the accident. Do not drive a vehicle that has missing lights, leaking fluid, blown airbags, broken glass, or doors that do not shut properly. You can call a local towing service (i.e. Prairieland Towing) that offers 24 hour service, or your insurance may provide roadside assistance dispatch.  In most cases, the cost of the tow will be covered by your insurance policy.

Get Your Car Repaired

Your insurance company may recommend a specific repair shop, but you have the right to choose your own. Newell's will work with your insurance company on your behalf to make the process as easy as possible for you. Our goal is to safely return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Newell's will assist you with your claim and repair, or advise you how to proceed if your vehicle is deemed a total loss.

Getting into an accident – even one that’s relatively minor – is a stressful and often scary situation. Knowing when to call your insurance company and understanding that you have a choice of which shop you'd like to repair your vehicle can make the process easier and get you back on the road safely. As one of the only I-Car Gold Class facilities in the area, choosing Newell's is a smart decision.  

Contact Newell’s Auto Body if you’ve been in an accident, or have any questions.

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