Logistics and legal requirements are the last things anyone wants to deal with as soon as they are involved in a crash. But we’ve seen too many examples of hundreds of thousands of dollars being lost from not taking these steps.
- Stop and assist anyone injured. Make sure everyone is okay and out of harm’s way before any logistics are taken care of. Assessing the situation will also let you know what to tell the police when you call. However, unless you are a medical professional, do not provide medical assistance. That includes moving someone who may have injuries.
- Call the police. This seems like a no-brainer. But you may be tempted in minor incidents to trade information with the other driver and handle things without seeing a need for police involvement. But the position you might find yourself in is that there is no objective party involved. Facts can be misconstrued when it’s your word against someone else’s.
- Take pictures of the accident before moving vehicles. This will make sure facts can be backed up with visual evidence. It’s best to get shots of all vehicles involved from multiple angles as well as close-ups of the damage incurred.
- DO NOT admit fault (even if you are 100% sure you are guilty). The kindness that was instilled in us growing up will want us to respond to an accident with something like this: “I’m so sorry! This was completely my fault. I wasn’t paying enough attention.” The accident may be your fault, but don’t let your perception of the situation (or your abundant politeness) cloud your judgement.
- Get contact and insurance information from all drivers involved. Also, get tag number and make and model of the other vehicle(s). The easiest way to get most of this is to snap a picture of all licenses, tags and insurance IDs with your cell phone.
- Finally, call your agent. This doesn’t have to be done immediately afterwards. But don’t let it linger more than 24 hours. Of course, if you don’t have an agent, call your insurance company directly.
This is a time when we will point out the benefit of having an independent agent. Independent agents will advocate for you. We do not work for the insurance company. We can hold insurance companies accountable and follow up on your behalf. If they get something wrong, it won’t be up to you to call them to the table on it.