Car accidents can leave you feeling rattled, and that can easily lead to a mistake that could impact your claim. To make certain that your claim is processed not only quickly, but fairly and accurately, it's important to take a deep breath and remember these common mistakes before you step out of the car to talk to the other driver.
Admitting Fault. Fault is determined by insurance adjusters following a set of rules laid out to ensure an unbiased look at the accident. When you talk to the other driver, even if you feel you might have made a mistake that led to the accident, it's best to keep fault out of your discussions. Don't admit to fault in the accident; instead focus on gathering the required information from the other driver: their insurance company's name and policy number, their name and contact information, and the make, model, and plate number of the other vehicle. Talk to businesses like Kirby Soar Insurance for more information.
Letting Witnesses Go. After an accident, witnesses can be instrumental in figuring out who was really at fault. After you're sure everyone is ok, look around for pedestrians or other drivers who may have stopped and who witnessed the accident. Ask them if they'd be willing to give a statement, and get their names and phone numbers.
Moving the Cars Too Fast. If you're involved in a simple fender bender, it's best to get the cars off the road and out of the way quickly. If it is safe to do so, however, it's a good idea to snap some pictures before the cars are moved. Those pictures can help the adjusters determine what really happened, and thus who is really at fault. Use the camera on your phone, or, if you don't have one, keep a disposable camera in the glove compartment just in case. Once you've done this, move the cars to the side of the road if possible.
Denying Injuries. Pain from a car accident can show up well after the scene is cleared and you've gone home; many victims of whiplash don't know it until later. If you tell the other driver or the police that you are uninjured at the scene of the accident, it may be held against you in a later injury claim. Don't make and definite statements about injuries a the scene of the accident, and see a doctor as soon as possible if you develop pain.
Not Calling the Police. Police reports do not determine fault for insurance purposes, but they are used by adjusters to help make a determination. You don't need to call the police for a small fender bender, but if there is any serious damage or injuries they need to be called. Furthermore, if you suspect the other driver may be intoxicated or they are behaving suspiciously in any way, call the police. Intoxication is very hard to prove later; the police can perform sobriety tests and get the results on record.