After many years of safe driving, the one thing you’ve dreaded has happened to you. You had a car accident. You are not alone. More than 6 million car accidents occur in an average year, according to Driver Knowledge. If you are prepared and follow these steps, you can protect your health and financial wellbeing after an accident.
Keep Relevant Documents On Hand
Keep your car registration, proof of insurance, and agent’s name in your car at all times; you’ll be asked to produce these when you have an accident. Cones or flares also can help protect you by warning other drivers to go around you.
Stay at the Scene
Never leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information with the other driver. Doing so could result in a hit and run charge. It would be best if you also remained at the scene until officers arrive. In Arizona, police must file a report for all accidents that result in injury or death, property damage more than $1,000, or a citation.
When you are safe, notify police or the local highway patrol. While waiting for police, make small talk with the other driver, but do not discuss the accident. In particular, avoid accepting fault or saying you are sorry, which can be interpreted as an admission of fault. Keep your emotions in check and remain polite and cordial.
While waiting for police, begin to document the accident on your own.
- Gather information from the other driver, such as name, contact information, insurance information, vehicle make, model and VIN. Gather the name and contact information of any passengers.
- Gather contact information of any witnesses.
- Jot down your recollections of what happened while they are fresh in your mind. Include specifics such as the direction and road on which you were traveling, as well as the direction and road on which the other driver traveled. Answer questions such as were you using wipers or headlights? Was the other car using wipers or headlights? Write down the time of day and weather conditions such as rain, snow, or fog.
- Take photos of your car and the other car from all directions. Photograph any further damage, such as damage to street signs or neighboring shrubbery.
When police arrive, answer their questions factually without speculation and without admitting fault. Avoid arguing with the other driver. Obtain a business card from the officer or jot down his name and badge number. The police officer will help you find a tow truck driver if needed.
Avoid signing anything that the other driver gives you or agreeing to any settlement at the scene.
Contact Harnish Insurance Group
Contact your agent at Harnish Insurance Group in Mesa, Arizona. Our staff can help you through the claim process to be sure you receive all you are entitled to. Harnish also can help you be sure you have enough liability and property insurance to protect you in case of accidents and other hazards.