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Auto Accident Readiness Checklist

It is not uncommon when involved in an auto accident to experience panic and get confused by everything going on around you. It is sound advice to keep a checklist with you in the unfortunate event you are involved in an auto accident.

Familiarize yourself with the list and review it periodically. An accident “do and don’t” checklist can end up making the difference in how your case turns out.

Don’t lose your head. There’s no need to panic because you’ve already prepared yourself regarding what steps to take.

Don’t discuss accident specifics with anyone other than law enforcement, and even then stick to facts only. Do not place blame on yourself or others.

Don’t ever leave the scene of an accident. It will only worsen the situation.

Don’t agree to a settlement or sign any type of statement without consulting an attorney first.

Don’t attempt to “work it out” with other involved parties without contacting law enforcement. An accident report should be completed by the proper authorities immediately after the accident occurs. Do not let an at fault party persuade you to accept cash for repairs to avoid having the accident go on their driving record.

Don’t be too anxious to leave the scene. Once things calm down, you can park in a safe area and go over the accident details in your mind while everything is fresh. Sketch details on paper, and make notes on anything that comes to mind about the accident.

Do call 911 immediately for medical assistance if anyone is injured in the accident.

Do contact the police to complete an accident report and document the specifics. Failure to do so will result in the other party’s word against yours.

Do contact your insurance company promptly after the accident occurs. 

Do take pictures of all damages to vehicles, the scene of the accident, and the surrounding area. What may seem unimportant at the time may prove to be very useful later. Some things to look for include traffic lights and/or signs, the position of the stopped vehicles, weather conditions, skid marks, etc.

Use sound judgment and common sense, and be prepared in advance. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in this situation, but in case you do, you’ll certainly be glad you took the time beforehand to prepare so you can handle the incident for the best possible results. Wear your seat belt, drive safely, and obey all traffic laws at all times.

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