- Car Safety & Safe Driving
Car Accident Solicitors Where To Find One And What To Do In A Car Crash
Non-fatal car accidents, also known as fender-benders, are a common occurrence here in the US. Unfortunately, many of the people involved in such accidents are clueless as to what steps to take after such an incident in order to protect themselves from being held responsible for the crash, or having to pay massive repair bills. The following is a simple list of steps one should take after being involved in a car accident. Note: this list excludes many steps one should take regarding the safety and health of all drivers and passengers who were involved in the crash. The main focus of this list is how to deal with accidents where there are no injuries.
Accident Management firms are a great place to start when looking for an accident solicitor. Checking a firms history with the Better Business Bureau is good idea. If a company has multiple complaint that's not the place to handle your claim. Ask around you will be surprised by who knows who when you ask friends, and let them know what your needs are.
First and foremost, you should always call the police and report the accident. Especially if there is significant damage to one of the vehicles, or if one of the vehicles is disrupting traffic. Be sure to give an exact location of the accident.
Secondly, while waiting for the police to arrive, you should talk with the other driver and exchange insurance information. Not only should you exchange insurance information, but also gather as much information about them and their vehicle. Write down the make, and model of their vehicle. Also write down their license plate number, as well as their license number. There is no such thing as gathering too much information.
Be Careful What You Say
As courteous as it may seem, do not apologize for anything when talking to the other driver. It may not seem important, but apologizing can be seen as admitting fault to the accident. This can, and likely will be used against you if it comes down to a battle between insurance companies. Even if you think it was your fault, it is better to not apologize. When an accident first happens, the scene can be hectic, and you may have missed something that a witness saw which would lead to the other driver being at fault.
Talk to Witnesses
Talk to every single witness that is at the scene. Ask them what they saw, and if they are willing, ask for their full name, phone number, and address. If you talk to one witness and they claim they saw everything, do not simply stop there as there could be legal issues with said witness and they may not be able to testify for you. As stated above, there is no such thing as gathering too much information.
Call Your Insurance Company
Even if you are still at the scene and nothing has been settled, it is always a good idea to call your insurance company as soon as possible and let them know exactly what happened. In the case that the other driver's insurance company plans to file a claim against you, giving your insurance agent a call allows them to better prepare a defensive case for you. Be completely honest with your agent; leave no facts out. Just as gathering information is crucial, giving correct information is just as important.
After The Police Arrive
Be sure to give all of the facts regarding the accident. Even if you think a certain fact could make you seem at fault, it is more important for the officer to know every detail. In many states, there is a law stating that if there are no injuries, and both vehicles are drivable after the accident, that the police officer is not required to write an accident report. If the officer on the scene does not wish to write one, your best option is to go to the police station and find someone who will. It does not have to be the officer who was at the scene of the accident who files the report. Having an accident report is especially crucial when dealing with insurance companies, as without one it is simply your word against the word of the other driver.
Things to Watch Out For
If the other driver comes out of his vehicle and immediately tells you not to call the police, and to let his or her insurance company handle this, you should automatically be suspicious about him or her. Even if they promise to pay for the damages, or even try to write you a check on the scene, do not accept it. A simple fender-bender may not look like much, but there are many things that can go wrong with a car that you must first have the damages assessed by a trained professional. While the driver may seem honest, their intentions may be to have you drive away from the scene, thinking their insurance company will cover all the damages, but in the meantime they can go to the police station and file an accident report, claiming that you fled the scene. After the event has happened, do not, under any circumstances speak with the other driver's attorney, his insurance company, or anyone directly affiliated with that driver that tries to contact you. If you receive a call from either of them, simply give them the number to your insurance agent or your own attorney.
One of the most helpful things you can do is to take pictures of the accident. Even if it is on a camera phone, having pictures of the accident can give your insurance agent a better idea as to what really happened, and the pictures can also be evidence if the other driver chooses to leave the scene of the accident. Make sure to take several pictures of each vehicle, from many different angles and distances as to give your insurance agent a better idea of the original scene.
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