Tips For After a Car Accident: 10 Things to Note

July 19, 2013

Car AccidentsThere are some important things to note at the scene of an accident that can make a difference in fault determination as well as the possibility of a traffic ticket or other charges. These are the top ten things to note after an accident.

1. Injuries to drivers and passengers.

Not all injuries appear at the scene, and it is possible to have an injury manifest later, but taking note of how people are behaving and whether or not they appear injured can help prevent fraudulent claims. Of course, anyone who is injured needs medical attention; call for help immediately.

2. Signs and signals controlling the intersection.

Look for stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights and note how they may have impacted how the accident occurred, especially if the other drive may have violated one.

3. Damage to the cars.

While no one can make an estimate at the scene with total accuracy, damage over $1000 requires a police report. Eye the damage and call the police if you aren’t sure and take pictures if you can.”

4. Any potential witnesses.

Witnesses can help determine fault in an accident. This includes surveillance cameras that might have caught what happened. Get names and contact information of anyone who saw the accident.

5. The other driver’s behaviour.

Be alert for any sign of intoxication; if any signs of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol exist, call the police immediately – don’t confront the driver.

6. The other driver’s basic information.

Write down the license plate number, driver’s license number and name and policy number for the insurance company. Be sure to write it down as memory is fallible, and share the same information with that driver as well.

7. Whether the cars are drivable.

If the cars can be moved, they should be taken to safety and out of the way of other traffic. Don’t ever move cars if anyone is injured or if it is dangerous to do so, instead move people to safe distance and wait for the police.

8. The time, date, and exact location.

Again, memory is fallible, so make a written note of what time the accident happened, where exactly it happened including cross streets and nearby businesses, and the date. These things will be asked by insurance companies.

9. Anything that contributed to the accident.

That includes pedestrians, other cars, animals and more. Anything that was a part of the reason the accident happened should be noted and may help with fault determination.

10. Potential previous damage on the other car.

Look for any damage that appears to be pre-existing and could not have been caused by the accident, such as damage on the wrong side of the car. Pre-existing damage can’t be repaired on an accident claim, and trying to do so is fraud. Be aware of any signs of possible fraud in the other driver’s actions or behavior.

While taking note of all these things, remember to remain calm and not to get involved in fault discussions with the other driver. If at any time it seems necessary, call for police assistance even if it’s not required. Remember that at-fault car accidents impact insurance quotes. Be sure to report all information and be co-operative with the insurance company to ensure all details are accurate.