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Contact:
Kenton Brine, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director     
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
kenton.brine@nwinsurance.org
sandi.henke@nwinsurance.org
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Winter driving: what to do after a car accident

SEATTLE - Snowy, icy conditions usually lead to more car accidents and auto insurance claims.

Knowing what to do immediately following an accident can reduce stress and save vehicle owners time and money.

"Drivers also can take the headache out of being involved in an auto accident with some advance planning," said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance Council president.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, NW Insurance Council offers the following tips to help you handle the situation effectively.

Immediately following an accident:

  • If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately. Provide basic first aid, but don't move an injured person. Wait for professional medical help.
  • Take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your car such as setting up flares, getting the car off the road and calling a tow truck.
  • Call the police or highway patrol and wait for them at the accident scene.
  • Write down these key facts to help you with your insurance claim:
    • All other drivers' license and vehicle license plate numbers.
    • Other drivers' insurance company name, policy number, agent phone number.
    • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers and passengers.
    • Witnesses' names, addresses and phone numbers.
    • Take photos (from several angles) of the vehicles and the accident scene. Be sure to photograph the license plate of the other vehicle(s).
    • Make a rough sketch of the scene and note details of the accident such as time of day, road and weather conditions, street names and direction and speed of travel.
    • Call your insurance company to report the accident within 24 hours.
    • Get a copy of the police report.
    • Keep copies of all documents related to the accident.

Filing a claim

  • Contact your insurance agent or company immediately. Ask the representative what documents are needed to support your claim.
  • Keep records of your expenses related to the accident. These expenses may be reimbursable under your policy.
  • Maintain copies of all your paperwork, including the police report and repair estimates.

Before an accident:

  • Keep a notebook and pen in the glove compartment to help you record important information about the accident. You also may want to include an inexpensive "throwaway" camera.
  • Keep your insurance company's claims reporting phone number in your wallet or purse.
  • Always carry your vehicle registration and insurance card.
  • If you are allergic to certain medicines or require special medical attention, keep a medical alert card with you at all times - whether you are the driver or a passenger.

To order a free brochure, How to File an Insurance Claim, visit NW Insurance Council or call (800) 664-4942.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education and public policy organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

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