Some drivers are not exactly sure what to do after they’ve been in an accident. Of course, it’s important to call 911 and notify the police as soon as possible. After that, it pays to be very careful with your words, whom you speak to and how you behave in the presence of police, other drivers, and anyone in the immediate area of the accident. What should you not do?
Giving a Recorded Statement
According to Stewart J. Guss, insurance companies have a talent for taking things out of context and insinuating that you are at fault or that your claim isn’t worth as much. That’s why it is essential that you do not speak with insurance reps after an accident. Let your legal representative do the talking. If an insurance rep calls you and asks to take a recorded statement, or says something like, “This phone call is being recorded,” say nothing except, “Goodbye. You’ll need to speak with my attorney.” Why? Insurance companies want to minimize their costs after an accident. If they obtain a recorded statement from you, they have the ability to parse your words in such a way that it could sound like you are admitting fault even when that is not the case. Silence is the best policy in situations like these. It’s quite easy for clever insurance personnel to take your words out of context. That means you might make an innocent statement that is later turned against you.
Speaking with the Other Driver
It’s never a good idea to speak with the other parties involved in the accident. That includes the other driver and that driver’s passengers. Conversations with anyone other than your attorney can lead to nothing but confusion. Auto accidents are expensive affairs for all involved: vehicle owners, passengers, insurance companies and any pedestrians who are unfortunate enough to be injured. The cost of vehicle accidents in the U.S. hovers around $1 trillion if you take into consideration the vehicular damage, loss of life and loss of productive work hours. Never have a conversation with the driver of the other car in an accident, even if they call you and sound friendly over the phone. Simply say, “My attorney is dealing with this,” and hang up.
Forgetting to Document an Accident
In addition to having your words taken out of context by insurance reps, it’s also possible to forget to take photos of the accident. In the confusion and high-adrenaline moments after a collision, it’s easy to forget to document the accident. According to US Insurance Agents, you should always remember to take photos of the accident. Simply use your phone or a digital camera and snap pictures of both cars from various angles. Police do this but they don’t always do a thorough job.
Giving recorded statements, conversing with other drivers and neglecting to properly document an accident are just three of the things that can lead to delay or outright denial of an insurance claim. Drivers should strive to speak only with their own attorney about the details of an accident and should take multiple photos of the crash scene.
Author Harper Harmon is a freelance writer and blogger who focuses on business, health and other various topics. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication from UCLA and currently resides in Santa Cruz with her dog, Sassy.