No one wants to be involved in a car accident. Being prepared and following appropriate steps at the scene and after the accident can help set the stage for a smooth claims process.
Before An Accident
Although we all hope to avoid accidents, it helps to be prepared just in case. Ahead of time, be sure you have enough insurance to cover the cost of replacing vehicles and enough liability to protect yourself. Keep important documents such as the car registration, certificate of insurance, and agent name in your glove compartment. You will need these documents in case of an accident. Having cones or flares in your vehicle also will help keep you safe after the accident by warning motorists so they can avoid your vehicle.
At the Scene
Stay Calm and Cordial
Keep your emotions in check. Be polite to the other driver, avoid talking about the accident, and avoid making any statements about fault.
Call the police or highway patrol to report the accident. Don’t let the other driver persuade you to avoid calling the police. Often drivers who are intoxicated or driving without insurance or a valid license are keen to avoid police. Never leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information, or you may face hit-and-run charges. Drivers convicted of hit-and-run can be fined, go to jail, and lose their drivers license
Document the Events
Obtain information from the other driver, including their name, contact information, insurance information, vehicle registration, and VIN. Also, obtain the names and contact information of any passengers. Search the scene for potential witnesses and get their names and contact information, as well, since many witnesses will not stay around until the police arrive.
Note your recollections of what happened as soon as possible after the accident while the details are still fresh. Note specifics such as the use of headlights or wipers, direction of travel, weather conditions, and visibility. Note the time of day and the location of the accident, including the nearest cross street. Sketch the scene.
Photograph your vehicle and the other vehicle from all angles to show the extent of the damage,
Once the police arrive, obtain their badge number and name, or a business card containing that information. Cooperate with the police. Answer their questions factually, but don’t speculate. Don’t discuss the details of how you feel, or what you were doing at the time of the accident. Be polite, and even if you feel you did something wrong, do not acknowledge it. Ask the police officer where and when you can obtain a copy of the accident report.
Avoid signing any documents at the scene other than those the police officer presents to you. Avoid agreeing to a settlement with the other driver.
As Soon As Possible After the Accident
Contact the Don Neeley Agency at 480-945-7621 to begin the claims process. The Don Neeley Agency is an independent insurance agent serving Scottsdale, Ariz., and the surrounding areas. The staff at the Don Neeley Agency can help move the claims process forward.