One of the most frustrating and scary events to befall a person is an automobile accident. No matter how careful you may be when operating your vehicle, we are all vulnerable to human error. Even if an accident is not your fault, there are multiple variables on the highways that could lead to an accident, such as drunk/inexperienced drivers, weather conditions, deer or other animals, etc. Sooner or later, we will all likely be involved in a collision or fender bender. If you’ve recently been involved in a collision for the first time, you may be overwhelmed and unaware of what your next steps should be. If this sounds like your situation, continue reading to learn more about what to do following an automobile collision.
What Should You Do After an Accident?
The first thing you need to do after any type of auto accident is to make sure everyone’s okay. While it can be tempting to panic, do your best to stay calm. Check on yourself, others in your vehicle, and those who are in the vehicle you collided with. Ensure everyone is conscious and alert. Be sure to ask if anyone has injuries, including cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, whiplash, etc.
After you’ve taken care of the immediate needs of those involved in the accident, it’s time to call the police. If there were any serious injuries, time is of the essence on the step, as an ambulance may need to be dispatched. Although, regardless of injuries, it will be important dial 911. The 911 operator will ask you questions about the accident, particularly those relevant to potential injuries. After receiving more information law enforcement and an ambulance may be dispatched. Furthermore, when law enforcement arrives on scene, they may decide to issue citations to one or both parties involved.
While you are waiting on the police to arrive, it’s important to survey the scene of the accident. Make note of any damage to your car, as well as damage to the other vehicle(s). Be aware of any traffic cones, barricades, or road hazards that were present before the accident occurred. Take time to exchange insurance information, with the other party involved in the accident and take pictures to document the damage to each vehicle and the surrounding area. After the police arrive, you can determine whether the incident was minor enough that it is safe for you to drive your vehicle away or if you will need to call a tow truck.
While many people still believe that a minor fender bender does not warrant an officer coming to the scene, it is often in the best interest of both parties to contact the police even if the incident seems insignificant. An officer will take note of relevant information and file an accident report which could prove helpful to both you and your insurance company when making a determination of who was at fault.
After the immediate concerns of the situation have been appropriately dealt with, your next step should be contacting your insurance company to report the accident. Even if the other party is at fault, your insurance company will work directly with the other person’s insurance company to make sure your vehicle is fully repaired. You can get the ball rolling by providing your insurer with as much information about the accident as possible. From there an insurance adjustor will come and inspect the damage on your vehicle, determine fault, and approve repairs/deem your vehicle a total loss.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Auto Body Repair Shop
Once you know who will be paying for the necessary repairs on your vehicle, you can choose an auto body repair shop. While your insurer is likely to suggest body shops they frequently partner with, don’t be afraid to do your own research and choose someone you feel comfortable with. Simply put, insurance companies often recommend a certain place because they are known to do the job for less, but not necessarily better. Choosing the right body shop will be important to ensure the job is done correctly. Not to mention, when dealing with vehicle’s involved in accidents, frequently more severe damage cannot be recognized until the repair process begins. Whenever this occurs, a good body shop will be on your side, providing evidence to the insurance company of why additional money will be needed to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy once more. Simply put, choosing the right body shop can alleviate your stress, guarantee your vehicle is fully restored, and make a stressful experience much easier to bare.
So, How Do I Choose the Right Auto Body Repair Shop?
When looking for a reputable auto body repair shop, start by finding out how long the shop has been operating. If the business has only recently opened, chances are they lack the long-term experience you need for a great repair experience. Conversely, if the shop has been around for years, they’ve likely seen their fair share of accidents. Although, time alone is not always enough of an indicator of how well a shop will perform. Thus, when selecting a body shop, look for one with a positive reputation. Ask friends and family members for recommendations or check online reviews. Finally, consider your repair needs and choose a shop accordingly. For example, if a shop largely focuses on hail damage and you have major damage from a collision, there are likely better options. Focus on the right specialization, the right recommendation, and the right experience to help ensure the best possible experience for you and your vehicle.
Any auto accident can be overwhelming and doubly so when it involves another party. Despite the inevitable stress of the situation, the process doesn’t have to be a nightmare. When the right steps are taken immediately following the incident and an experienced auto body repair shop takes care of the repairs, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing your vehicle is in good hands. Before you know it, your car will be good as new and back on the road for more adventures!