The screech of tyres, the smell of rubber, the adrenaline pumping in through your veins. All these things happen in a moment, but what is dreaded is the thump that comes after.
Your near miss has turned for the worse. You have a car accident on your hands.
The following is a guide for how to deal with an ill-fated accident, a guide to where your priorities should be.
This sounds ridiculous. Even more if you have had an accident in the past and know the experience. But calm, clear decisions are the most important in the time of chaos post-accident. This is particularly true if people have been hurt.
Check your self. Any injuries? How are your passengers?
No matter how much you love your car, the humans inside it matter more. Make sure everyone is unharmed , and if you suspect injury, don’t move the victim and call for medical assistance immediately.
If you can, check the occupants of any other vehicles. They may have fared much worse than you. Your first priority should always be people’s safety.
Get the details right
Assess the damage.
This can determine if you call the police. Sometimes for minor impacts, people choose to settle the issue privately. Legally, police are to be notified in the event of injury or property damage.
If there is any suspicion of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to get the police involved.
Make an assessment on the scale of the accident and make a call.
Inspect the site.
Your mobile phone is your best friend in this moment, start taking pictures. Look at any skid marks, the car(s), the wheels, the impact spot, the road conditions, anything and everything. Remember, too many photos are never an issue. But you cannot take a photo later that you missed.
If there was another vehicle involved, get their details. You will be best served with their phone number, email, name, address, insurance provider, registration number. Sometimes people borrow cars, get the drivers details if they are not the owner of the vehicle.
Contact your insurance.
You are not obliged to contact your insurance. This decision should be based on your assessment of the damage, injuries, or desires to make a claim. Do remember though, nothing says you cannot call your insurer for advice and not put in a claim.
Choosing to claim
The decision to make a claim is yours. Some accidents can be sorted out privately to the satisfaction of all parties.
If you do choose to trigger the claims process, depending on fault, it might mean that you must pay your excess fees. Questions of money will likely be handled later, after repairs.
Don’t let the insurer dictate where you take your car.
Some insurers will try and convince you to take your vehicle to a smash repair shop of their choice. This may not be the best result for you. Often when this is the case, the insurer is choosing the repair option that best suits them. Remember, this is your vehicle. In many instances, you have the right to decide who carries out your repair job.
Golden rule of the legal world. Never admit fault.
It doesn’t matter if you think the accident is entirely your responsibility, you have no way to gauge accurately the accident, context, or actions of other parties. Leave the blame game to the police or the insurers.
Take photos, draw diagrams or sketches of the scene, talk to witnesses. The more detail you gather, and the more accurate the information, the easier it will be to sort out the accident and move forward.
Had an unfortunate accident? Call Peter Wilkinson & Co today for the best possible care for your vehicle and for the future safety of its passengers.