What To Do After a Car Accident: My Experience

Less than two weeks ago, I was involved in a car accident.  Luckily, no one was hurt.

What Happened?

We had a snowstorm at the end of March and early April.  That’s New England weather for you.  Having gone through many winter storms over the years, this particular one wasn’t out of the ordinary.  It dumped snow and rain, so I took the usual precautions of driving slowly and cautiously.  However, the road condition was apparently more treacherous than it looked.  It was slick, slushy and slippery.

My drive was fine until I went down a stretch of downhill road.  It all happened in seconds, but my car skidded and the vehicle kept veering to the right.  I am not sure if stepping on the brakes helped or worsened the situation.  I steered left but it was not enough to avoid the fire hydrant on the side of the road.  Not only did I hit it, I knocked the whole thing out of its base.  The collision scraped off my car metal crumbling it against my front right tire, which slowed the vehicle before my car hit a curb and come to a complete stop.  Since I was not going fast, the airbags did not deploy.

The Aftermath

Things to do right after an accident:

  • Check for injuries:  I checked to make sure that my passenger and I were not injured.  No other vehicles were involved.
  • Call 911:  I called 911, and the police arrived onto the scene to assist fairly quickly. I took a picture of my damaged vehicle.  There were debris in places, so the presence of police serves as a warning to other drivers coming down the the same road.
  • Tow the vehicle:  My accident happened during the evening hours when most repair shops have closed, so my car got towed to a tow yard.
  • 1. Remain Calm

    Right after an accident, it is easy to have the “What Ifs?” raced through your mind.  What if I hadn’t gone out that night?  What if I had gotten new tires that provided better traction?  Or what if I had done this or that differently?  It’s best not to dwell on the “What If” mindset since it won’t change the outcome.  I was lucky that there were no injuries; it could have been a lot worse.

    2. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

    When it comes in auto insurance, I’d have to say a lot of the efforts goes into making sure you have adequate coverage before an accident.  You won’t truly know how good or bad your insurance company is until you have to file a claim.  Fortunately, I have Amica Insurance and my experience with them had been positive.  I was having a bad enough day with the car accident, so I was grateful to work with kind representatives who fielded my numerous questions and walked me through the process.

    3. Expect to Take Financial Hits

    My car was a “total loss” (more on this in a later post).  My car was 13 years old, but it was my first car and I took great pride in ownership.  Often, I’d exclaimed, “Look at that car! Isn’t that car the prettiest car on this whole street?” to which my family members would sometimes just roll their eyes at me.  I was not ready to part with my car yet.  I had no plans to buy a car for at least a couple more years, but that’s changed now.  There is also the collision coverage deductible and the eventual insurance premium surcharge.   There is a lot to be said for saving for a rainy day fund.

    Other thoughts:

    If You Are Witness to an Accident, Maybe See How You Can Help

    There was a car behind me at the time of the accident, and the driver witnessed the whole accident.  The driver did not stop or pull over to help and simply drove away.  I understand that the driver has zero obligation to stop, but I tend to think the best of people.  If you are the first person on the scene of an accident and if it is safe to do so, it seemed like the right thing to do is to check if everyone is alright or if help is needed.  I know I would.

    If the situation was reversed, wouldn’t everyone want the same?  Everyone is someone’s mom, dad, son, daughter, wife, husband, sibling.  The police came quickly enough, though I have to admit that I lost a little faith in humanity at that moment based on the action of that driver.

    Get Insurance with Rental Cars 

    While my loss was with my own vehicle, the financial hits reminded me that it’s important to have adequate car insurance coverage.  This is true even when you are just renting a vehicle.  I would not risk driving a rental without having or getting some insurance coverage to cover for mishaps.

    In Summary

    It’s important to put things in perspective after a car accident.

    I am immensely grateful that no one got hurt. Things could have gone wrong in so many other ways.  I am thankful that the police got there quickly to assist and secure the area so that the road is safe for others.  I am also glad that I have Amica as my insurance company to walk me through the claim process.  While I have to deal with some paperwork, it’s minor in the grand scheme of things.

    At the end of the day, all material things can be replaced.  Lives, no matter whose, can’t.