10 Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident
- Make sure everyone is ok - before concerning yourself with vehicle damage and exchanging insurance information, make sure that all parties in the accident are ok. If not, call 911.
- Always get a police report - if the accident seems minor and the police will not come to the accident site, walk to the nearest police station and file a report. Many opinions change a day or two after a claim.
- Save the apologies for another time - yes, politeness is an admirable trait, but in this situation, a simple “I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” can be seen as an admission of liability.
- Start talking - to witnesses, that is. Get all the relevant contact information of any bystanders that may have seen the accident.
- Take pictures - having proof of the damage to the car will help with insurance and serve as evidence if there is a dispute down the line. A good tip is to keep a disposable camera in the car for these situations or just use your cell phone.
- Take Notes - similar to pictures, detailing the accident and the nature of your injuries as soon as possible can serve to expedite the process.
- Call your insurance company - report the incident to your insurance company, even if you are not at fault. If the other party decides later they think you are at fault, your company will have a start on the claim process.
- Get a property damage figure from your insurance company - this evaluation will serve as the amount you can recover or replace your car. It is recommended that you're get a couple of quotes from reputable body shops. If a body shop asks for a fee for the estimate, go to another shop.
- Careful who you talk to - if the other party’s insurance company contacts you, your best response is to get in touch with your insurance company first. Then it is normal procedure for each company to get a deposition from you. A deposition is just your statement of what happened in the accident.
- Be accessible - Make sure you stay in contact with the claims adjusters and give them good phone, email and other contact info. Take their calls quickly and if you have to call them back, give them a time you will probably be calling. If you don’t reach the adjuster when you call, ALWAYS LEAVE A MESSAGE. This is the number one complaint of adjusters. Many times they just step away from their desks and can call you right back. The claims adjuster will be your main insurance contact in the claim, so helping them will speed along your claims process.
Troy Jefferson, Director of Sales