After an Accident

As an insurance agent, I often receive a call about an accident immediately after it happens. I pict...

brian walker menifeeAs an insurance agent, I often receive a call about an accident immediately after it happens. I picture my client standing in the middle of the road with a smoking car and fluid leaking from the point of impact. If you have lived in California for a long period of time, you probably have seen a bad accident or two. However, most accidents occur in parking lots and thankfully, involve low speeds.

People always ask me, what do I do after an accident? If the accident is an emergency call 911 and avoid moving an injured person. This may seriously complicate the injury. Do your best to warn other drivers, turn on hazard lights, set flares or signal with a flashlight or flag. When everyone is safe, exchange information starting with insurance documentation. Make sure to get the license plate number from the vehicles involved and the names of any drivers, passengers and witnesses. Double check the other party’s driver’s license to make sure it is valid and the picture matches the person.

Be careful what you say, do not admit responsibility. Investigation may show that you were not responsible. When appropriate, report the accident to the proper authorities. Your insurance company may do this for you if/when you make a claim with your carrier.

Some things to remember to write down: time of accident, location and cross streets. Road conditions are very important in some situations including weather or construction. Look for traffic signs or signals and street lights and report if you think the other party is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Call the police immediately if you feel threatened in any way, as some people get very upset. If the police arrive, get the officer’s name, badge number and phone number so you can follow up with them later and possibly give a report.

As an insured driver, it would be in your best interest to take photos of the accident, from a safe spot, with your cell phone. Most people have cell phones now, and all the data possible for your insurance agent will only help in the long run. Often times, accident victims don't even realize that they are not at fault, but further evidence can proof that to be the case. Even a photo of the other driver's insurance information and drivers license, as well as both vehicles and the area, can help. Take as many helpful photos as you can from a safe distance, perhaps even of skid marks, damaged property, and driving conditions.

Remember, accidents happen. They are unfortunate events but chances are that sooner or later, your drive will be interrupted by one. Know what to do; stay calm, collect important data, say as little as possible. These are vital steps in helping the healing process, for both you and your vehicle.

Brian Walker is a Farmers Insurance agent in Menifee. Contact him at 27070 Sun City Blvd, Menifee, CA 92586, (951) 672-3476, or visit online: http://www.farmersagent.com/bwalker4

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