Here are a few things to keep in mind:
The first thing to do is make sure everyone is ok. Call an ambulance immediately if someone is in need of medical attention. Only then should you start to process what just happened. If possible, try to leave the vehicles where they are so that the police can see exactly what took place. In the case that the vehicles may be obstructing traffic, make sure everyone is safely out of any danger and then pull the cars to the side of the road or at least out of the way if possible.
Next, have a look around to see if there were any witnesses. Everything will be happening so quickly that if there was someone that saw what took place, you should try to get a name and phone number for future reference. They may have even taken pictures or video that they could share with you. Stories and memories fade very quickly. The sooner you get a clear vision of what actually took place, the better.
Do you need to call the police and report the accident? Is there extensive damage to your car or the other vehicle involved? If you think there is more than $1000.00 worth of damage, call. Is the other driver co-operating or do they seem intoxicated or aggressive? Some may even try to leave the scene, if this is the case, dial 911! At the end of the day a police report will be required for insurance purposes and will come in handy if any problems arise after the fact. When in doubt give them a call, they will know best how to guide you.
Is the other party willing to exchange insurance information? It's always a good idea to do this. Names, phone numbers, insurance info etc. of the other person/s involved are a must. If you have paper and pen in your car, you can jot down the date, time, weather and road conditions and of course, the make and model of the other car/s and license plate number/s. Although with today's technology we have the ability to document things very quickly. We can use our cell phones to take photos, video or just record your account of the accident moments after it happens. Either way, try to record as much information as you can while you and the other driver/s are still on scene.
***Two things never to do: Do not drive away without dealing with the situation and never admit fault while at the scene or to the police, just stick to the facts. You even have the right to say nothing at all.
If everyone can walk away from the accident, you should consider yourselves very, very lucky. Vehicles can be repaired or even replaced, people can’t. Hopefully it will act as a reminder that driving is a privilege that should be taken seriously, whether you’ve been driving for 5 days or 50 years.
I did not look forward to dealing with an auto body shop. I had visions of a dirty environment and condescending staff who really couldn't be bothered in fully explaining the process of the repair, Newport Collision Services proved me wrong. From the moment I walked in the door until I picked up my repaired vehicle, I was totally impressed. The shop was unbelievably clean, Mr. Odorico was patient and politely explained what would happen and when. The staff were also very customer service oriented. I wholeheartedly recommend Newport - without question.