You are driving your regular route to work when someone blind-sides you at the intersection. The crash has caused some disorientation, and both parties check with one another to ensure each are alright. The next step involves contacting the local authorities to notify them of the situation. While waiting for the authorities to arrive, do you exchange insurance information or wait for the police to sort the matter out? This unfamiliar situation often can bind people to legal proceedings they would prefer remained untouched. The legal fines and fees can amount to large sums, leaving you in a financial, downward spiral. Below we’ll touch on what to do and what not to do in the case of a vehicular accident.
To Do: Contact Your Insurance Company
Having insurance when dealing with a situation you now face can become your saving grace. The insurance companies are brought in or paid to look out for the best interest of the consumer. Reaching out to them in time of need is a good starting point. Providers can help talk a driver through the situation, utilizing their expertise to ensure the development does not reach levels of panic. A standard conversation would start with an injury check, ensuring the consumer is okay following the wreck. Once this base is touched, the provider will work with their associates and business partners to continue the fluidity of the situation. Whether it be providing a personal injury lawyer contact or a vehicle repair facility, their contacts will further the process in the correct direction.
To Do: Document Your Scene
Gathering intel is a second step you should take that will continue you in the right direction. Write down important details: plate information, insurance information, vehicle information, and contact information. The more intel you gain, the better the outcome for you. This collection of information becomes a vital piece for those working on your case. It can also make the difference when it comes to claims and receiving the top credit for your accident. Failing to provide this information to your insurance company or the police on the scene can blur the lines between right and wrong, often hurting where you stand within the situation. Most of this information can be gained with little to no contact with the other individual involved, which becomes an important piece of our ‘not to do’ segments.
Not to Do: Contact the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
The biggest red flag at the scene of an accident would be to exchange insurance information and then contact the other driver’s insurance company. Odds are, if you were not at fault in the accident, your head is going to be in a state of anger and/or confusion. Adding gasoline to the fire would be to contact the other driver’s insurance company. Remember, the insurance company’s job is to look after the driver they are funded by. This is a title you cannot claim, so don’t place yourself into a situation that could potentially lead to turmoil or regret. Even in the case of an accident where the other driver is at fault, their insurance company will do what they can to limit the personal damage within the courts or financially when it comes to a customer they are funded by. This piece of information is often forgotten when you are not at fault, so keep a cool head and refrain from taking a step that could lead you to deeper anguish. Speaking to another’s insurance company also limits the control you have over what is to come from the situation.
Not to Do: Confrontation
Keeping a cool head in the situation is another piece you must be mindful of. The police and the insurance companies deal with cases where fault and blames are clearly associated. These cases arise daily and each of these forces have been briefed on how to correctly handle the situation. Point being, this is not their first rodeo. Odds are they have dealt with these kind of situations hundreds of times, making them the voice of reason in the situation. No need to spew at the mouth or lose your cool over something that will be handled correctly. Silence becomes golden as it affords you the ability to let these forces do their jobs. Upsetting the balance or trying to handle it independently can only progress to things that reduce your rightful dues in these situations.
Not to Do: Never Flee the Scene
A minor bump is still classified as an accident, even if the cars experience no external damage. If you hit another car or another car hit you, proceed with the situation as an accident. Call the police, exchange insurance information, and make your checks and balances. If either you or the other driver leaves the scene, this action becomes punishable as fleeing the scene of a crime or accident. The fines and potential jail time associated with this offence are not worth damaging your record or losing out on your hard-earned funds. Contact the police immediately, as this will prevent any foul play from either side. This call represents the assurance you need in a situation like this and it can also limit the potential escalation of a small issue. If the other party becomes confrontational, remain within your vehicle until the trained professionals arrive on the scene. This call can also afford the driver or drivers that remain on the scene a level of immunity that would not otherwise be dealt from leaving. Once you leave the scene, you put yourself at a risk of committing a crime and terminating any grounds you had for a rightful hold on the situation. Stay put and remain safe, as this situation is common and will be handled by the experts associated within the nature of the type of situation.