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The first phone call you should make after any car accident should be the police. The officer will take statements from all parties involved, and any witnesses, and create an official report for the accident.
This report will be helpful in proving fault and can be used if you need to file a car accident lawsuit against the other party for damages. If you fail to call the police and choose to handle it on your own, you run the risk of the opposing party changing their story to try and put you at fault. To protect yourself, you should immediately call the police after a car accident, no matter how small or major the accident.
Don’t be Afraid to Call Your Insurance Company
Your next call will likely be to your family to let them know that you were involved in an accident, but your next call should be to your own insurance provider. Calling your insurance company is a crucial part of this process. Remember that your insurance company is in your corner and you want everyone on your side that you can.
People worry that talking to their insurance provider about their accident will increase their rates. However, the accident already occurred and your insurance company will find out either way. Also, insurance companies have experience in dealing with liability and working with other insurance companies, this experience will help you through this situation. Your insurance agent will take your statement regarding the accident and will counsel you on what to do next.
It is a myth that if you are not at fault in the accident that you do not need to speak with your own insurance provider. Report any damage to your vehicle to your insurance provider and they will assist you in filing a claim against the other party to officially start the process.
What Kind of Information Will My Insurance Company Want From Me?
Some insurance companies now have apps to report a crime and to document the damages. This is helpful because it will prompt you to take pictures from all angles, and to break down the situation when it is fresh in your mind. If your insurance company does not provide this option, no worries, simply take the photos on your own.
Some common information your Insurance provider will ask you includes:
- Explain the accident
- Were there any passengers or witnesses?
- Did you call the police?
- Have you received medical attention?
- Have you contacted an attorney?
- Did you take photos of the damage?
Your insurance company is going to try to collect as much information about the accident as they can in order to build a case to prove fault/liability.
Why Shouldn’t I Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance?
The number one mistake drivers make after an accident is speaking with the other driver’s insurance company. You need to remember their motives and whose side they are on.
The opposing party’s insurance is going to do everything in their power to prove that it was not their client’s fault because they do not want to pay you. They will try to twist your words or confuse you in order to create reasonable doubt as to who caused the accident. Any discrepancy between your statement given to the police, your insurance company, and their insurance company will be used against you.
Another common tactic that the opposing party’s insurance will use is to offer you a small lump sum of money, up front, if you sign away liability claims for the accident. They are simply buying you off so you can’t take the accident claim to court.
Be wary of anyone offering you money after an accident unless it is through your insurance company or a settlement with a car accident attorney. Insurance companies will do anything in their power to avoid paying your claim. The best way to approach the opposing party’s insurance is to only have your insurance representative speak with them to relay your statement, or if you enlist the services of a skilled accident attorney they can talk to the insurance company for you as well.
If you must speak with the other party’s insurance company, be sure to request that the call is not recorded. You have the right to request this, but you must explicitly state that you do not consent to the recording of your conversation. In the heat of the moment it is hard to remember exactly what you need to do after an accident. First thing first, seek medical attention to ensure that you are well. Taking care of yourself is most important.
Once you are comfortable, you can speak with your insurance to inform them about the accident and move forward from that point. A car accident can already be a daunting situation, don’t make it worse by contacting the wrong people first. Be sure to speak with your insurance company before you even consider speaking with the other side.
Call Personal Injury Attorney Jared Everton at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.
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