5 Steps to Take after a Car Accident
NOTE: These steps are for car accidents in which medical attention is not required. Always report any possible injury resulting from a car accident to a medical professional.
What you do IMMEDIATELY after a car accident can make a huge difference in ensuring that you receive the complete auto body repair you need. Here are the 5 steps to follow after a car accident to put the hassle and stress in your rearview mirror as quickly as possible.
What to Do after a Car Accident
Being in an accident can be frustrating, stressful, and disorienting. However, keeping your wits about you ensures that you don’t make a mistake and end up taking on a financial burden you don’t deserve. Although we hope you never need to use these tips, it’s better to be prepared.
If you are able to move the cars out of the road, that’s a great place to start. Once you’ve taken care of that, or if you can’t move the cars, move onto our 5 steps to take after a card accident:
- Call the Police
When you are in an accident that wasn’t your fault, calling the police is one of the most important steps to take. Even if the other party asks you not to, bringing the police to the scene is a necessary place to start.
Have an officer examine the scene to write an official police report, which will indicate the at-fault party in the accident. Unfortunately, when the police aren’t called, the other party may change his/her story after the accident, which can put your insurance claim in jeopardy.An official police report serves as the final word on an accident and is a tool to ensure the at-fault party’s insurance pays their share.
- Take Pictures
Not only does a picture say a thousand words, it can be key to ensuring you get the auto body repairs you need. The second step to take after an accident is to snap pictures – both of your car and theirs. As soon as the police are on their way, pull out your phone and start taking pictures of EVERYTHING.
Taking the right pictures of your car helps make negotiating with the insurance company easier and can help to identify the at-fault party if they flee the scene. Either because they have a suspended license or no insurance coverage, occasionally they’d rather make a break for it rather than face the consequences. Unfortunately, it’s more common than you’d think—we hear about this 3 to 4 times a week.
Pictures of their car can make it easier to track them down in the future.
Learn more about the right pictures to take of your car.
- Call your Trusted Repair Shop
If the accident took place during business hours, get your repair shop on the phone. Even if the car seems safe to drive for a while, you need to find out for sure. Damage that appears to be purely cosmetic can actually have caused some serious internal damage.Schedule a time for both an auto body estimator and insurance adjuster to examine the damage and learn whether it’s safe for your family and how much it’ll cost you to fix it.
- Get your Vehicle Towed Where you Want (If Needed)
If you need a tow truck to move your car from the scene of the accident, there are a few things you should know.First, you have the right to have your car towed ANYWHERE you want. Even if the driver says he works with a certain shop and that’s where he takes it, you’re in control. It’s your car and your decision. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to have a relationship with an auto body shop for times like this.
Second, you don’t need to let them take your care to a lot before delivering to your auto body shop of choice. Storing the car at their lot is a way to rack up your bill by charging you needless storage fees. Even if they ask to take your car to the lot, you don’t have to let them. Simply put: don’t let a tow truck driver cost you extra money with an unnecessary upsell.
- Get Auto Body Work WHEREVER You Want
No matter what an insurance company tells you, you can have your vehicle repaired anywhere you like, and they’ll need to cover it. While many insurance companies will try to sell you on a “preferred” location, you have the right to go anywhere you want.You also have the right to use the auto body shop you like and trust – rather than taking a gamble with the insurance company’s “preferred” shop. Insurance company “preferred” shops may be great, but they may also score those referrals by working quicker and using cheaper parts, ultimately saving the insurance company money at YOUR expense.
At O’Neill’s Auto Body, we are more than happy to do referral work on behalf of the insurance company, but we never compromise our quality. That’s why the majority of our work comes directly from people who know and trust us. Ultimately, we like to earn our customer base rather than be given one by the big insurance companies.
An Auto Repair Shop to Trust in Every Situation
Whether you were in a big accident or a fender bender, having an auto body shop that you trust is important. Although being in an accident is stressful no matter what, having a place to take your car for quality repairs makes it all a little easier.
At O’Neill’s, we do it all and we do it well. From removing little dents to major structural accident damage, we make cars look just as good as before, if not better! We also offer ceramic coating to protect your paint job, and full auto detailing to have your vehicle looking great inside and out.
- Call the Police
- Contact us today to start the conversation.
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