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What To Do After a Car Accident

This is a very random post, but since I've started working at State Farm I've gained some helpful information for those that don't know what to do after they get in a car accident.  If this is you, don't worry, most people don't know what to do. I know I sure didn't.

1.) GRAB A WITNESS
- Try to get a witness to stop and get their contact information so the insurance companies can use their statement.
- If you can't get anyone to stop, take a picture of their license plate.  An insurance company can run their license plate, and get their contact information.  Yes, that might be a bit scary for the witness when they get a call out of the blue about an accident, but it will sure help you if the facts are disputed.
- A witness is also your most prized asset in a parking lot accident. THE most disputed type of accidents by far.

2.) TAKE PICTURES
- Try to take them instantly, before the vehicles have been moved from where the impact occurred.
- Many people will try to claim damage that you might not have caused so the pictures really do come in handy.
- It's also nice to have a picture of the other person's license plate, just in case they give you the wrong information.

3.) CALL THE POLICE
- A police report isn't always the deciding factor when determining who's at fault, but it can definitely help.
- The police will run the other person's vehicle information and get their correct address and insurance info, and they will provide that to you.  You never know when someone might give you the wrong information. 
- If the accident occurred on private property then it's not as necessary, because most cops won't write a report.

4.) CALL YOUR INSURANCE CARRIER
- Talk to your insurance company so that can advise you on the best way to go about it.  They'll advise you on if you should file your own claim, or if the facts are clear cut and you're not at fault you can wait for the other person's insurance to handle it. It really depends on the damage to your car.  If your car is not drivable and needs to be towed, you'll want to use your own insurance.
- It can take another insurance company quite a bit of time to make a decision of who's at fault, and in the mean time you're going to need a car.  Don't wait for another insurance company to take care of it. If they do find out their customer is at fault, your insurance company at that point will seek reimbursement.

5.) REMEMBER THE SCENE
- If you don't have a great memory, write down exactly what happened during the accident. EVERY single detail. The more information you have about what you saw and heard, the better.
- Sometimes an insurance company will have you draw a diagram of the scene if it's a difficult accident to understand...art skills might come in handy : )

6.) RELAX
- It's an accident, the other person didn't intentionally hit you. People make mistakes.  Unless someone was intentionally trying to hit you : ). That does happen every once in a while. 
- You might be at fault. Most people are adamant they didn't do it, but you have to take a step back and take in both sides of the story.  If you have no witnesses and no PR, it's your word against theirs. Either way, try not to yell at your claim handler ; ).

Well, I hope you don't get in a wreck any time soon, but if you do I hope these tips will come in handy.  


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4 comments:

Haley said...

Great tips! Please also add that if you get in a small fender bender, you should NOT stand in a busy street blocking traffic while you leisurely exchange information.

Make sure everyone is ok, snap your pictures, then move to a parking lot! In some cities in TX, you're breaking the law if you don't move a drivable vehicle out of the street.

Thao Cantu @ The Law Offices of Adams & Corzine said...

Thanks for your tips, Jesse! It's never easy to keep calm and composed in situations like accidents, but you have to try to, so that you can think clearly and do what is right. If I may add, before doing anything else, do check yourself for injuries first after the collision.

Maggie Malone said...

Great points to bring up! The most important thing to do when you’re in an accident is to gather evidence, so that you have physical proof of who's at fault should you decide to report to the authorities. Another good measure is to have a dash cam installed, so you have video handy should the other person deny his fault.

Tracy Pierre said...

This blog post will help a lot of people. I'm sure that there are some drivers out there who haven't yet encountered a car accident in their life, so it's important that they get an idea on what to do just in case they end up in an accident. Things can be chaotic, but you won't have a problem dealing with them if you follow these basic procedures.

Tracy Pierre @ Craig Swapp & Associates