Have you ever witnessed a Commercial driver after an accident? No, I am not talking about the drivers you see on TV. In the insurance world, Commercial means Business. Back to the question… Have you? If you are ever in the unfortunate circumstance that you have to see this, sit and watch. They get out of their vehicle with an accident report kit and “get to work”. These kits generally have a disposable camera, pen with black ink, yellow highlighter, measuring tape, witness cards, exoneration cards, a drawing of a road to make notes along with instructions on what to do, such as ~
- Call the police
- Do not admit fault!
- Take pictures
- Exchange information
- Call the Insurance provider
Whether you are at fault or not, it is still a stressful time and with your adrenaline running, having steps to follow helps to keep you calm.
If it’s a minor accident and you are able to move to the side of the road or a parking lot, do so. But stop! If you have to stay where you are, turn your flashers on. Check on your passengers and make sure everyone is ok.
Call the police
Whether you are injured or not, call 911. Let them know that there was an accident, if there are any injuries, anything major (people trapped, leaking fluids, etc). This could be the difference between one police car versus multiple policy cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc. Also, the police will provide you with a report that you may have to provide to your insurance company (most require them).
Do not admit fault!
Of course, you need to be courteous and make sure that everyone is ok. But, the minute that you say, I am so sorry! Are you ok?, you have just admitted guilt. How? You apologized. Maybe you are thinking that it's your fault because you went through the light when it was yellow and you should have seen the other driver. Well, could it be that the other driver was texting and not even looking at the road? So, be quiet. When the police officer arrives, you can speak to them separately. Be truthful, but stick to the facts.
While waiting for the police, take pictures of everything. Each angle, street signs, license plates, roads and yes, even the sky. Why the sky and road condition, you may ask That's a question on the police report. If you see anyone else taking pictures, take a picture of their license plate. Why? They are a witness and they now have documentation.
Trust me. Just because the police are going to do it, it may be a few days before you have access to the police report and you will want it now. Here is what you need to get ~
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Date of Birth
- Driver's license number
- Insurance company policy number
- Other vehicle information – year, make, model and license plate number
- Witnesses names and contact information
Call the insurance Provider
Here is where people get confused. If it was someone else’s fault, call their insurance company to file the claim. “But, that’s what I have insurance for!” Yes, if you have Collision coverage, your insurance company will help take care of you. But, you will still have to pay your deductible and if you don’t have rental car coverage, you’re not getting one. This is why the other person has insurance so use theirs! Let their insurance pay for the damage to your vehicle and pay for your rental car. However, if you are at fault, call your agent.
So, print this out and put in your glove box. Or call us at 850.729.2131, we will be more than happy to email you a pdf version to print and we can even mail one to you.