Automobile fender benders are common, especially during the winter months, when commuters are driving home in the dark and snow and ice are making roads treacherous.
Motorists involved in a minor accident should remain calm and follow these simple steps:
- Call 911 to report injuries and notify the police.
- Write down names, addresses, phone numbers and license numbers of any witnesses, people and vehicles involved.
- Do NOT discuss the accident with anyone except the police or your insurance company representative.
- Do NOT sign a statement for anyone except the police or your insurance company representative, unless advised to do so by your attorney.
- Do NOT authorize repairs unless your insurance company adjuster has seen your vehicle or your insurance company claim representative has agreed to the repairs.
If you’re involved in a collision, try to remain calm. And that’s when the rules about not saying too much are often disregarded. Empathy is fine, but remember, saying “I’m sorry,” can influence your liability and be perceived as an admission of wrong doing.
Regardless of what is said at the scene of the accident, most insurance companies will contact those involved and get a more detailed statement, which may contradict what the other driver claims was said immediately after the crash. Typically, no driver is 100% at fault in a collision. Remember that it’s important to be a kind and caring human in these situations, so it is OK to express concern for the other driver’s physical well-being without fear of accepting blame for the crash.
Most people have smart phones today, which will allow them to take photos, and even video, of the crash scene. If possible, take photos of the damage to both vehicles and any other tell-tale signs that may help show what happened. But be safe—don’t stand in the way of moving traffic while taking the pictures.
It is important to have proof of auto insurance with you whenever you drive, but what happens if you left your insurance card at home and then crashed with another motorist?
Oftentimes, the police will tell the driver that he or she has to bring proof of insurance to the police station within 24 hours to avoid receiving a traffic citation. But keep in mind that the police may still hand out a ticket for not having proof of insurance.