What To Do After An Auto Accident
Whether it is a parking lot fender bender at Publix in Delray Beach or a violent crash on I-95, most of us will be involved in some sort of auto collision in our driving lifetime. You should be prepared.
Being involved in an auto accident can be startling, painful, frightening, even angering or annoying. The claims process can be time consuming if you’re unaware of what you should do after an accident.
As your Florida auto insurance agent, we’d like to equip you with the following tips and tricks to help you through an efficient claims process.
Remain at the Accident Scene
If you’re in an accident, stay at the scene until the police inform you they have all the information they need and you’re free to leave. Departing from the scene of an accident could result in violations or criminal charges, especially if there are substantial injuries or damage involved.
Usually, the police judge the severity of the accident, injuries, and damage sustained by both parties and will file that information in their report. If you cannot move your accident off the roadway, turn on your hazard lights or use flares and cones to make certain others drivers will see you and avoid the accident scene.
If your accident is on private property (like a parking lot), you will probably be advised by police to submit a walk-in report. Though police will be unlikely to issue any citations in a private property collision, it is good to have a same-day account of the accident for future use and for submission to your insurance claims adjuster. Remember to be honest and thorough to ensure accuracy in your report.
Do Not Admit Responsibility
Even if you think you’re responsible for the accident, never admit fault. Auto accidents are never as cut and dry as they appear. Your opinion isn’t relevant to the determination of fault. Determining factors may arise during the claims process which will indicate you’re less liable than originally thought. You should avoid discussing who is responsible with the other driver, and leave the investigation to a claims professional.
Collect Essential Information
After any auto accident, you should acquire the following information:
• From the other party: You’ll need their name, address, driver’s license number, policy number, a phone number to file claims at their insurance company, make and model of their vehicle, and their license plate number including the state it belongs to. Most, if not all, of this information can be found on their insurance card.
• From any witnesses willing to come forward: You will also need their name, address, and telephone number. Be sure you give this information to your adjuster as soon as your claim is assigned to one.
• From the Police: Request a business card and an “incident number” from the officers who respond to your accident.
• At the location of the accident: Take notes, or photos, of where the accident happened. Include the road condition, speed limit, and traffic conditions. You will also need to indicate time of day as well as weather conditions.
• From the accident: Take notes on the direction of travel (i.e. I was traveling East on Main Street) and how both cars were being operated at the time of the accident (i.e. I was stopped, waiting to turn left onto Smith Drive and the other driver was turning off
of Smith Dr onto Main Street) If your claim goes into litigation, these notes will become evidence during those proceedings.
If You Sustain Injuries
Accept onsite medical treatment from paramedics or visit your doctor as soon as possible. Taking chances with your health can cost you. Always let a professional evaluate whether or not you’ve been injured in an accident.
Have additional questions about Florida auto insurance? Give us a call at 561-637-2424 or contact us online.