Before you do anything else, make sure everyone is okay. If someone is hurt, call 911 immediately. If there doesn’t appear to be any injuries, some states require that accidents are moved out of the way so that the flow of traffic can continue. Unless you’re a true road warrior, you may not be aware of all the road laws in the state(s) you’re traveling in – so if it’s applicable, try to take pictures of the crash before you move off the road.
Whether the accident was your fault of theirs, or it was minor or major, insurance and contact information needs to be exchanged. If police are on the scene, they may aid in this process.
Who’s At Fault
This can be a tricky question in some instances, but if you cause an accident in any state you will be held financially responsible for any injuries or property damages suffered by others. Each state has its own liability car insurance minimum limits requirements. But keep in mind, these limits can amend to the state you are traveling in.
If you hit a parked car, chances are someone saw you do it. It’s best practice (and a law in most states) that you try to find the owner of said car. If you can’t locate the driver, you should leave a note on their car. Your note should include your name, your address, your phone number, and a brief explanation of the accident. If someone else owns the car you are driving, leave their information in the note as well. Before driving away, be sure to take photos of your car, their car, and the scene of the accident.
If someone hit your parked car and you witnessed it or the person found you – remain calm – they are probably just as worked up as you are. Exchange information and take photos. If there is noticeable damage, call the police so they can make a report.
After any accident, be sure to contact your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company. Don’t let a driver talk you into settling the issue yourselves – that could really burn you in the end. If the other party is angry or in denial, be sure to collect as much information as possible including a vehicle description and license plate number.
Depending on the extent of the damage from either bad weather, falling objects, or a collision, you may wait until you come home to have your vehicle repaired. If you’re able to do that, contact a repair shop right away to schedule an estimate and an appointment.
When it comes to insurance, you have the right to have your vehicle repaired at a shop of your choice. Do note that it is illegal for an insurance company to steer, force, require, or pressure you into using a specific shop.
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