Every driver should have a plan in mind for dealing with an auto accident. When an accident occurs, nerves are usually stretched and people don’t often think clearly particularly if there are injuries involved. It’s vital to be prepared by having the proper materials in your car before a crash or accident takes place. Every driver needs an action plant.
- Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove Compartment.
Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries. Also, keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies handy. Drivers can keep a fill-in-the-blanks accident form in their glove compartment. AAA and insurance companies offers a comprehensive kit that includes a flashlight, reusable camera and accident documentation instructions. A set of cones, warning triangles or emergency flares should be kept in the trunk.
- Keep Safety First. If the accident is minor with no serious injuries, drivers should move cars out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars in the middle of the road or busy intersection can result in additional accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers should remain in the cars with seatbelts fastened for everyone’s safety until help arrives. If possible set out cones, flares or warning triangles.
- Exchange Information. Exchange name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver’s name differs from the insured, establish the nature of the relationship and record the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don’t tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
- Document and Photograph the Accident. Take photos of all the vehicles. You want your photos to show the overall context of the accident to make it easier to make a case to a claims adjuster. Try to get contact information of witnesses; they may be able to help if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.
- File An Accident Report. Even if law police officers do not respond to the accident because there are no injuries, drivers should file a state vehicle accident report, which is available at police stations and often on the Department of Motor Vehicles Web. A police report often helps insurance companies speed up the claims process.
Know What Your Insurance Covers. The insurance process will be easier following an accident if you know the details of your coverage. For example, don’t wait until after an accident to find out that your policy doesn’t automatically cover costs for towing or a replacement rental car. Generally, for only a dollar or two extra each month, you can add coverage for rental car reimbursement, which provides a rental car for little or no money while your car is in the repair shop or if it is stolen. Check your policy for specifics.
A helpful list of what to do after an accident is available here thanks to the Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at GreyLaw
Recovering Damages for Injuries and Property Damage
Discuss No-Fault Insurance and when an injured person needs to retain an attorney.
Also discuss how fault is determined and by whom.