Car accidents have hovered around 6.4 million incidents per year since 2000, costing more than 230 Billion dollars with approximately 43,000 deaths annually. (Source-Car Accidents.com)
If you are one of the unlucky individuals involved in an accident, the first tip is to remain calm. Accidents happen unexpectedly at a moment’s notice and when thousands of pounds of steel, energy, and force are involved, anyone can lose their mental focus.
Once you’ve given yourself some time to gather your senses, immediately assess your physical position. If you feel pain or show signs of bleeding, determine the measures necessary to address these issues. If you have a passenger in the vehicle with you, check for injuries or any possible physical concerns.
If you are not at fault, do not move your vehicle or allow any vehicles involved with the accident to move. Call the police and if you cannot physically do so, try to find someone who can. Confront the person who you collided with and exchange information. Do not discuss the accident, wait until you call your insurance company so you can describe the chain of events without the danger of forgetting important details. Call their insurance company and describe the events in detail. Both companies will require statements from all parties related to the accident, so if you are not at fault, the sooner you get the statements on file, the sooner the insurance company will resolve your claim. Try to get the other party to contact the company immediately and release their statements, especially if they are at fault.
If you feel you are at fault, do not express apologies or ownership of the accident. The less you say, the better off you’ll be. In some accidents, IE a car unexpectedly stops, forcing you to rear-end the vehicle, the person driving in front of you may be trying to collect an insurance check. Exchange information and contact your insurance company.
Your insurance company should act as your advocate and it’s in their best interest to assign liability to the other party. In some cases, accident liability is hard to determine and the claims adjuster may assign 60/40 liability rather than 100% to one individual.
Relating the events immediately without discussion reduces the amount of gaps in memory as well as reduces the amount of bias tied to the accident.
Once your claim is filed, write down the claim number. I suggest write this information on the statements that show the exchange of information between you and the parties involved. The police may also have you complete their forms, exchanging information between the individuals.
Many companies have an on-line tracking system to check status of your claim. In addition, a claims specialist will usually be assigned to your case. Answer their calls, return their calls and your claim will receive the proper attention.
These days, looking out for your best interests apply to any situation and understanding the reasons behind intent are always unclear. However, with insurance the ultimate goal is helping people achieve the life before an unexpected accident. The worst feeling in the world is having an incident and realizing your insurance has limited coverage.