When Accidents Happen
How to Respond in a Tough Situation
Automobile accidents are some of the most dreaded incidents by most of us. However, when involved in one and are lucky to walk out alive, you need to ensure that you follow up on several insurance and legal matters for better handling of the situation and minimizing on stressing issues much later on. Nonetheless, you need to handle this situation with care to avoid it turning to a worse situation that it already is.
When in an accident, here are several tips that you need to follow up on and which will help you a great deal in easing legal and insurance matters.
- Stay calm at all times.
- If there are injuries in the accident, immediately call for medical assistance.
- Do not forget to inform the police.
- Avoid making public statements; do not openly accuse the other party of being the main cause of the accident, neither should you openly blame yourself. This could lead to unnecessarily grievous legal problems.
- Always ensure that before leaving the scene of the accident, you have had time to talk to the officer charging the accident and have gotten his name. Ensure that your story is taken into record and if possible, acquire a copy of the report from the police.
- It is better safe than sorry; ensure that at all times, you have your insurance detail copies pre-printed and safely kept in the glove compartment of your car. Also, having a camera with you is essential for taking photos as evidence. Disposable cameras with flash for easier shooting at nighttime or getting shots of the interior are better; nonetheless, having a phone with such capabilities could prove to be very handy in such a situation.
- Also, you need to ensure that you get all the essential details from the other party; make sure to get their driver’s license number, name, insurance information and address. They should also acquire this vital information about you.
- If there are any witnesses, make sure to obtain information from them too.
- In the case there is physical evidence of what led to the accident, make sure to get pictures of it.
- Always ensure that you give/record all relevant details that were taking place as the accident happened; for instance, was it raining, foggy, etc.
- When done with exchanging information, make sure to immediately report the incident to your insurance company whether it is your fault or not.
- Know your coverage; do not hesitate from asking your insurance company questions, ask them to carefully explain your payment and coverage conditions.
- Do not sign anything you don’t quite well understand, and do not hesitate on whether or not to seek legal advice.
- When looking for a body works shop to handle repairs on your vehicle, you need to be wary as the insurance may try to push or recommend a body shop of their liking. However, you need to understand that you are under no legal requirement to use that company’s services. You reserve a right to choose a body shop of your own liking to handle the repairs; exercise it!
- You also have to be very wary as at times, some insurance companies will try to prescribe the parts to be used for repairs. In most cases, the may insist that the shop use cheaper parts and not OEM- Original Equipment Manufacturer as they are costlier.
- You reserve a right to be informed on the type of parts that are to be used to handle repairs. Make sure to understand whether your insurance policy dictates the types of parts that are to be used; if the policy gives you the opportunity to choose, then you can go right ahead and dictate what parts are to be used for the repairs.
- While the insurance has a right to examine your car, it necessarily doesn’t have to do that. Also, they do not reserve any right to ask you to visit their own specific claim centers.
- Last but not least, learn from the experience- as it is said, do not dwell on the past; we all have accidents happen in our lives at one point or the other, it just happens- learn, be more careful and move on.
Remember, safe driving will save your life and money too!