It's okay, Denver—it happens!
Of all the possessions we own, few are as meaningful to us as our cars. Don't believe me? Excitedly show your friends your new toaster and tell them you named it —they'll look at you like you're some kind of sociopath. Your new car, however, is a perfectly acceptable object to anthropomorphize, and if you happen to get an accident that can be extra heart-wrenching. That's why it's important to know exactly what to do to make sure you get back on the road ASAP.
So let's say you've just been involved in a car accident, what's next?
Step 1: If you're not seriously injured, try to move over to the shoulder of the road. The only thing worse than one car accident is two. If that's not possible, turn on your hazard lights.
Step 2: Put your car in park, shut it off, and take a deep breath. Then, when you deem it safe to exit the vehicle, carefully do so.
Step 3: Check on the other parties involved. Make sure nobody has been injured, and if you suspect somebody has been hurt, call 911. Even seemingly minor injuries like 'slight' neck pain or dizziness can be serious and should be checked out by a health professional. Remember, you and the parties involved might still be in a state of shock and that could affect your assessment of symptoms.
Step 4: Call the police. An objective police report can be invaluable when you're dealing with your insurance company. Answer any questions law enforcement may have but don't blame others or admit fault, just give a description of what happened.
Step 5: Exchange information—try to get as much info as possible (e.g. names of the parties involved, license plate numbers, insurance information, makes/models of vehicles involved, witness contact information, the location of the accident, and an account of exactly what happened).
Step 6: Okay, paparazzi, here's your chance to take photos. Document photos of the damage to the vehicle, the scene, and any visible injuries you may have sustained. Also, keep these off social media —your insurance company will go back to look at them.
Step 7: File your claim. Call your insurance company to inform them of what happened. Do not accept any money for damages or sign anything until contacting your attorney.
Step 8: Call an accident injury attorney. Seriously. The sobering truth is that many of us have high deductible health insurance policies, and issues can arise down the road which you might be liable to pay for, which is the last thing you want to deal with.
According to insurance professionals, the average driver will get into three to four accidents throughout their lifetime so if it happens to you, protect yourself by following these steps and pass it along!