Any one of us can make mistakes while driving. No matter how confident you are with your driving skills, you never know if you could ever get in a vehicular accident, and even the pandemic didn’t help with this statistic. This is why you must arm yourself with information should this happen to you. If you accidentally hit an establishment or a business with your car, here are the first things you should do.
1. Stop. Don’t drive away.
The biggest mistake you could make when getting into a car accident is fleeing the scene. No matter the state of the situation, make sure you stay until the authorities say it’s alright to leave. Calm down, take a deep breath, and stay.
2. Check if anyone is hurt.
The second thing to do is to check if anyone is hurt, whether it’s you, a passenger, or someone from the establishment. If you find that anyone has been injured, no matter how minor, call 911 immediately.
3. Protect the scene as much as you can.
While waiting for the paramedics, make sure that you help secure the scene. Ask bystanders to stay as far away as they can from the accident since you don’t want anyone to contaminate it. If it’s dark, keep your lights flashing so that the ambulance can find you immediately.
4. Call the police.
Even if there are no serious injuries or damage, it’s still the smartest idea to call the police. This is because some insurance companies require police reports before you can file a claim—even if it’s just a claim for damage to your car. At the same time, your car needs to stay where it is unless it’s interfering with traffic. Ask for assistance from traffic enforcers in the area.
5. Provide an accurate record as far as you can remember.
When the police arrive, make sure to tell them exactly what happened, as far as you can remember, and to the best of your ability. If there are facts you’re not entirely sure about, be honest with them about that. Avoid speculating or making assumptions, doing guesswork, or misstating the facts of what happened. If there’s a question you’re not sure about, tell them you’re not sure instead of giving a direct yes or no answer. Make sure that the witnesses or members of the establishment you hit also provide accurate statements as well.
6. Take clear photos.
If you can do this before the police arrive, it’s better, too. Don’t touch anything, but take pictures of the damage and your injuries if you have them. These pictures might be able to help the authorities with the investigation. However, when you take pictures, make sure you’re not interfering with the investigation.
7. Exchange information with the business owner.
The police officers at the scene often take care of this. If they are unable to respond, you should initiate the exchanging of information with the representatives of the business or establishment you hit. Take their name, contact number, and address of everyone involved in the accident. If there are other vehicles involved, take their insurance information as well.
8. Report the accident to your insurance company.
Call your insurance agent or company as soon as you can. This is because a lot of policies require immediate cooperation and reporting. Check if you also have medical benefits. Often, these benefits also extend to other passengers in the car, so be as thorough as you can when reporting to your insurance company.
9. Seek medical attention.
Sometimes, we don’t often know that we have injuries due to shock. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, make sure that you and your passengers pay a visit to the emergency room to ensure that all of you are alright physically.
10. Keep all the essential files and documents together.
Gather all the accident-related information and documents together. This should include all the contact information and photos you got, as well as the claim number and the claim adjuster. You should also keep the receipts from all the costs incurred due to the accident.
12. Consult a lawyer to know your rights.
Finally, since this may be the most important step, consult a car accident attorney to know your rights. Having a lawyer in your corner will help you ensure that valuable evidence is not destroyed and that you have someone advocating for you with the insurance company.
When you accidentally hit a business or establishment, don’t panic. Do all that you can to keep your mind at ease and that all the information is protected.