What Should You Do If You Ever Get Into An Auto Accident?
Posted by Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency on
If your one of the lucky ones who has yet to be in an accident, you should count your blessings. However, being in the know is still a good thing when you haven’t a clue on what to do.
After all these years of driving (30 plus years or so), I hadn’t had an accident on my driving record yet. Well, until now.The year of 2014 was my year of accidents. I had just purchased a brand new SUV, a nice pearl color. My wife picked it out, just so you know. I loved the feeling of my brand new car, the smell and all, and it had lasted all of two weeks. Yep! Two weeks, my friends!
My first accident was at a STOP sign. After I stopped, I proceeded out into a busy intersection, but I needed to brake abruptly due to some idiot that was driving too fast across my path. That’s when it happened. I had gotten rear-ended. Not a bad impact, but a “BUMP”. I breathed out a sigh and prayed that the damage wasn’t too bad. So I pulled into the closest parking lot, hoping the car behind me would follow. However, I was ready to take down the license number had it not followed me there. When we both got out of our cars and I saw that the other driver was a young girl who was obviously very nervous. She was profusely apologetic and very close to tears. Oh, boy! She told me all of her day’s mishaps only leading me to feeling sorrier for her than myself and my new car. But, when we finally got around to inspecting the damages, the only thing I noticed was that the bumper had come loose on mine and that it was an easy fix. I did take her information in case there was damage that I hadn’t noticed at the time, along with some pictures of her license and both cars where the impact was. She insisted she could pay cash if I did find anything wrong and I told her I would call if anything showed up.
That was a pretty easy example of what to do. But, that was only accident number one.
I won’t bore you with the details of the next two accidents, but I will tell you this. I was seriously considering that my SUV had an embedded bulls-eye on the rear trunk lift. I even looked to be sure there wasn’t a “Hit Me” sign scribbled in invisible marker somewhere that can only be seen when the car was in drive. But, I was fortunate that the other vehicles who had hit me were smaller and did little or no damage to mine like the first incident and with the same outcome.
My last and most recent accident, however, I was not that fortunate. This one occurred when my wife and I were in Newport and I was stopped at a traffic light this time, when I got SLAMMED!, not bumped like before, from behind. I didn’t sigh for I was infuriated that this black BMW could not see that I was obviously stopped at a red light! WOW!! Are you kidding me?!? When the woman driver exited her car she started to apologized, but I interrupted her when I saw what she holding in her hand. A cellphone. Right then, I knew exactly what it was that occupied her attention when she hit me. As I looked at the damage that she had done to both our cars, I knew that I needed to be very precise on the information I gathered from her in order for me to be reimbursed and to prove that she was clearly at fault. The repair bill was going to be a doozy!
This is what I did.
Took pictures of the scene of the accident with both cars as they were.
If this can be done safely and without interference to the traffic flow or putting yourself at risk for being hit again (i.e. middle of a highway or freeway), you should stay where the impact occurred.
Took pictures of the damage done to BOTH cars.
Don’t skimp on this for this will prove who had hit whom.
Took a picture of the license plate of the car.
This will help trace down the vehicle and the responsible party in the event the driver’s license indicates a different address.
Took a picture of driver’s license of the driver.
This will give you a picture of the driver and hopefully the correct address. Make a point of confirming that the picture on the license and the driver is the same. This will help avoid any errors when obtaining the important information.
Took a picture of the car’s registration.
Gathered insurance or insurance agent information. Take a picture of an insurance card, if possible. This will have contact information on it as well.
Just so you know, she had the lizard guy and they were not fun or fair to deal with at all.
Immediately following the accident on the next business day, I contacted the Claims Department of the insurance company.
The reason for contacting an insurance carrier’s claim department directly is that it eliminates the waiting and Q&A process. That way your vehicle can be repaired as soon as possible.
This is what I didn’t do and should have done.
I had all the proof I needed, right? Nope. If I had contacted the local authorities it could have saved me a ton of aggravation with dealings and settlement from the other driver’s claims department in the end. So, learn from my mistake.
Don’t hesitate to contact the local police.
They will log and date the time of the scene of the accident, take a statement from both parties as well as witnesses. NOTE: No one can lie when there is witnesses. The police will also put in the report their determination of who was at fault. This makes settling insurance disputes a piece of cake. It usually won’t go to arbitration when there is a report clearly stating which party was at fault. Just so you know, this is one of reasons why insurance rates go up globally for you and me is because of the cost of unnecessary arbitration between companies. You can thank the girl who rear-ended me and the company that insured her. Yay!
Hopefully you will not need any of this information that I have shared with you here. But, if and when you do, it has taking some of the concern out of what you should do when you’ve gotten into that accident. Whether you are at fault or it was the other driver, this is why we have auto insurance for our cars for when these accidents happen. In the meantime, drive responsibly.
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by suggesting solutions for many different situations. By no means can we address each reader’s specific concerns in every incident. We strongly advise you to check with a representative that can address your specific needs. However, you can contact us for any insurance questions or concerns and we will be happy to help you. We offer a very competitive line of auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance and commercial insurance for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire residents and businesses.
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