Unless you’re participating in a demolition derby, attempting insurance fraud, or competing in NASCAR, you probably never want to be involved in a car accident.
An auto accident can spoil your entire day. In addition to the inconvenience of missing work or an important appointment, you must also deal with car damage, liability difficulties, possibly traffic tickets, and in some terrible circumstances, injuries.
Here are some statistics, at the risk of sounding like a defensive driving film. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 2.24 million accidents resulting in injuries in the United States in 2010. The good news is that fatal crashes are declining because cars are safer than ever before.
5: Leave the Scene
Consider that you are engaged in a little collision. You have collided with another automobile, although the damage is minimal. At first sight, no one seems to be wounded. So you’re free to leave, right?
In fact, you are not. Regardless of the apparent severity of a collision, you must always stop, check on the other driver’s well-being, exchange insurance information, and notify police enforcement. If you do not, you are guilty of a crime.
In Texas, for instance, driving away after a collision may result in a charge of failure to stop and offer assistance. That is a misdemeanor, but it might be raised to a felony if someone is harmed or killed [source: Matt Horak Law Office].
In addition, you are expected to assist an injured individual, including transferring him or her to a hospital if necessary, if someone is harmed.
Hence, if you’re engaged in an accident, perform your due diligence and stay to assist the other parties. You would want the same for yourself, correct? Additionally, if you don’t, you could get arrested. It seems quite straightforward.
4: Forget to Call 911
Some of us may assume that it is not necessary to call 911 and report an accident if no one was injured. This is actually a terrible concept, and I will explain why.
Let’s imagine you and the other motorist reach a “gentleman’s agreement” to let the insurance company handle the situation and not report the collision to the police. But even if the other motorist appears honest, how can you know that their insurance is current? Maybe even real? How do you know that the driver who struck you does not have an outstanding arrest warrant? Also, someone may require medical attention, so it never hurts to call and report the incident.
One out of every seven drivers lacks auto insurance. Several individuals circumvent the system by carrying fraudulent or expired insurance cards. If you’re involved in a collision with someone who has no insurance, you’re up a creek without a paddle. [source: United States Today]
Without a police report documenting your collision, what evidence do you have that it even occurred? In some regions, law enforcement may not attend to collisions unless there are injuries, but you may always obtain an accident record. Occasionally, this also helps to expedite the claims procedure. Do yourself a favor and be sure to perform this action.
3: Lose Your Cool
A car accident is never a pleasant event. Thereafter, one’s emotions are typically elevated and one may even be harmed. Despite this, it is never advisable to lose your temper, particularly with the other driver. (Yes, even if they caused the accident.)
When dealing with the other motorist, the first question you should ask is, “Are you okay?” Do not begin assigning blame or yelling at them. It will not fix anything, nor is it beneficial to anyone. Take a few deep breaths and remain composed. You must be in a sound state of mind to analyze the situation and complete all the necessary steps for documenting the accident.
Another thing you should avoid doing at the site of an accident is admitting fault. If you do so, you are accepting legal blame for the accident, which could subject you to legal action and other fines. Maintain composure, ensure everyone’s safety, be courteous, and protect yourself at the same time.
2: Forget Proper Documentation
You remained at the scene of the collision, dialed 911, and resolved not to be a jerk to the other motorist. What else must you accomplish? Don’t forget to carefully document the collision and obtain the other driver’s insurance information.
Attempt to clear your mind and determine precisely what occurred. What were you doing before to the collision? What street were you on and where were you going? When did the second driver enter the scene? You’ll need to provide law enforcement and insurance companies with a consistent and accurate description of the accident. You may even find yourself repeating this narrative.
Typically, you must obtain the other driver’s name, address, insurance company, and policy number. Also record the brand, model, and color of the vehicle they were driving. Don’t forget to record the license plate number of the other vehicle, as well. Existed any eyewitnesses? Get their names and phone numbers if so. If you possess a camera, photograph the crash location. They may be useful during the claims process in the future.
1: Neglect the Aftermath
Despite the fact that the vehicle accident was likely upsetting and tough enough on its own, the worst part is often what follows. So, it is essential to follow up on everything that requires attention. This may occasionally include obtaining legal and medical counsel.
First, were you wounded in the collision? Have you had discomfort or persistent health issues after the incident? If so, you must consult a doctor immediately. If you believe you will incur substantial medical expenses, you may also wish to contact a lawyer. And if another driver threatens legal action against you, you will likely need your own attorney.
Make sure you register your insurance claim soon. Some insurance companies have time constraints on when a claim can be filed, so get to work immediately. It is vital to know in advance what your own insurance covers; otherwise, you may find yourself paying for a rental automobile out of pocket. It is helpful to be aware of whether the laws of your state assign “blame” to one of the involved drivers. Also, keep in mind that you may take your vehicle to any repair shop of your choosing.
Don’t be scared to monitor insurance companies as well. Maintain frequent communication with them and the repair shop. Ultimately, you desire a swift and accurate resolution so you may get on with your life, correct?