Be Prepared

Of course we never really expect to have an accident, right? As a result, even when we buy the insurance that we should, there’s that all important phase right after we’ve been hit, where we need to gather critical info to get our car fixed by the other party. Long before these current economic times, we here at the shop level, have heard again and again of people who’ve been hit, had the other party run up and openly admit it was their fault at the scene, only to have them radically change their story later. I’m not sure I have words to describe the level of frustration my clients experience when “the other guy lies” about what actually happened. As a result, I’ve put together a brief punch list that everyone should probably consider. We want to help protect ourselves from distorted versions of the accident, as well as to properly equip our insurance carrier to prevail, should a dispute arise following the collision.

I should add that there may be those on the insurance side of our industry that will advise against what I’ll say here. So please be advised, this is my own personal opinion, based upon tragic accounts that my customers have shared with me over the years. You may want to contact your own insurance company and follow their advice with regard to being prepared.

Have a camera - It’s the old “a picture’s worth a thousand words” thing. Several strategic shots at the scene will go a very long way to winning the battle over who’s in the wrong later on. I used to counsel to have a small throw-away camera kept in the glove box at all times. It’s still a great idea; that is of course unless you have one of the newer cell phones with a camera feature already on it. Also try and get a few pictures that show the street, intersection and surrounding terrain. I’m not sure you can have too many pictures if you hit a snag later on.    

Keep a pen and pad of paper in the glove box - Write out something that briefly describes what happened, and have the other party sign it, right then and there. This virtually guarantees against any imaginative recreation of the event by the other party after they leave and “confessor’s remorse” sets in.        

Collect as much data on the other party as possible - Name, Address, Phone Number, Driver’s License Number, Insurance Company & Policy Number, Insurance Co. Phone Number, Their Vehicle’s Data (i.e. Year, Make, Model, Color, License Plate Number)

Witness Info – There are very few things as powerful as a third party eye-witness report. I’ve seen fraudulent accounts quickly swept aside when a witness described what actually happened. So whenever possible, (look around if you have to) grab a witness to the accident. I’m always encouraged when I see someone pulling over to be a witness for someone else. It can alleviate so much turmoil for the injured party later on.

One comment on “Be Prepared

  1. Claretta Straughan on said:

    This facts actually helped me, I’m sharing having a few friends. I shall be checking back frequently to look for updates.

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