WHEN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN
How to Respond in a Tough Situation
Being in a car accident is the last thing anyone wants - but when it does
happen, there are ways of making sure that the legal and insurance issues
are handled with as little stress as possible.
- First of all - stay calm.
- If someone is injured, be sure to call for medical
- Make sure you call the police.
- Don't publicly make any statements where you either
accuse the other person of causing the accident or take all the blame
yourself. It could open you up to legal problems.
- Whatever you do, don't leave the scene until you've had
a chance to talk with the officer and you've gotten their name. It's
important to make sure that your side of the story goes on the record.
Afterward, it's a good idea to get a copy of the police report.
- Make sure you have a pre-printed copy of your insurance
information in the glove compartment, along with a camera you can use to
provide pictures for the insurance company. A disposable camera with a
flash for nighttime or interior shooting is usually best for this.
- In dealing with the other driver, make sure you get
their name, address, driver's license number and insurance information - and
that they get the same information from you.
- Also, make sure to get information from any witnesses
- Make sure you get pictures of any physical evidence of
what could have caused the accident.
- Write down pertinent details such as where the accident
took place, what the weather was like, etc.
- Once the information's exchanged, report the accident
to the insurance company immediately, even if it's not your
- Make sure you understand how you're covered, and don't
be afraid to ask the insurance company to explain the conditions of your
coverage and payments.
- Don't be afraid to seek legal advice - and don't sign
anything if you don't understand it.
- When you're using a body shop to get repairs to your
vehicle, be aware that the insurance company can recommend a shop, but you
are under no legal obligation to use its services. You have the legal right
to choose the shop to do your repairs.
- Also be aware that insurance companies sometimes try to
dictate what type of parts are used in a vehicle's repair. They might
insist that a shop not use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, as
they are more expensive.
You have a right to know what kind of parts are being used on your vehicle,
and to know if your insurance policy dictates what kind of parts can be used
in your car. If your policy lets you choose, you have the right to decide
- An insurance company also has the right to inspect your
vehicle, but it is not required to do so. In addition, they cannot require
you to visit one of their own claim centers.
- And finally: Make sure you learn from this accident,
but also let yourself move on from what happened. Everyone has an accident
once in a while - it's just something that happens.
Remember - Drive Safely!
Want more information on your rights? To make an appointment, call us at
301-769-2400 or make an appointment