We are incredibly sorry to see you here today, on these terms. “Yeah, so am I,” I’m sure you just said to your computer monitor. Everybody makes mistakes and everybody has accidents. Whether it’s your fault or another person’s, it’s a simple hazard of being on the road. Here’s how to keep yourself safe through this rough time.
Making The Police Report
Every accident should have a police report filed. You jumped a curb and tapped a public light pole? Call the cops. Do not move the car. Someone ran over your foot? Don’t let them drive off, call 911 right now. Yes, even if you’re reading this.
Though in some areas police aren’t sent to the scene for minor fender benders, it is deeply important that you make the police report and start the ball rolling. Making a police report does not mean that you’re filing charges or having them pressed against you. It just means that the police, a neutral third party, have an incident report of the accident.
Because otherwise you’ve committed or been the victim of a hit and run. That’s a felony. We’re against felonies here. We hope you are too.
Keeping Everything In Print
The next step is getting a copy of your police report. Do not talk to anyone without a recorded copy of the call or in solid text- such as a text message, a letter, or communication through a lawyer. If things get messy, you will need all of the records you can get to defend yourself or to get what you are entitled to.
Contacting Your Insurance
After you’ve filed the police report, it’s time to talk to your insurance company. If you are at fault, just come clean and admit that you’re at fault. You may see a rate hike, you may not. It happens. Insurance companies are pretty forgiving these days.
If you are not at fault, make sure that you get the insurance policy number of the person who caused the damage. If you do not have it, it will likely be on the police report. Insurance companies like to talk to each other about this sort of thing to clear up any problems.
When to Talk to a Lawyer
Let’s be honest: nobody wants to be in court if they don’t have to be. That includes you, dear reader. If you are at fault and there are medical bills, go to a lawyer immediately. Tell them the situation, try to get a free consultation, and just sit down and go over the reaches of local law. It is better to know than to receive a summons to court and have no idea what’s going on.
If you are not at fault and the opposing insurance company is refusing to cover any of your damages, go to a lawyer now. They’ll listen to a notarized letter much faster than they will your call backs.
We hope that you won’t have to involve a lawyer no matter which side of the accident you’re on, but it’s always better to be prepared than to not be.