Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to Protect Yourself During an Auto Accident

A car accident can be a frightening experience. However, knowing what to do in case you are ever in a collision can help make the experience just a bit less frustrating and demoralizing. Being prepared in case the worst happens is one of the keys to protecting your rights and your money.

Stop and Call Immediately.

If you are ever involved in a collision of any type - with another vehicle, a bicycle, a pedestrian, or just a single car crash with property, you need to stop. Hit and run is a crime which carries serious penalties, including fines, probation, and jail. Once you stop, it is important to call the authorities immediately. If it is a very minor accident with another car, exchanging information may be all that is needed; there are specific state rules governing when the authorities should be notified. If there appears to be any injuries, the first call should be to 911. Tell the 911 operator all the details - location, possible severity, and number of cars and people involved. Be concise yet comprehensive. Stay on the phone until the 911 operator has taken down all the details and advises you to hang up.

Be Truthful Without Admitting Fault

Once the authorities arrive, it is absolutely essential to tell the truth. However, you should not admit any fault or take the blame. State the facts - nothing more and nothing less. Do not volunteer any additional information or details. Anything you say to law enforcement can be used against you on a claim or in a courtroom. You should also remember to get the police officer's name, badge number, and precinct.

Document Everything

It is important that you always carry the proper documentation in your vehicle at all times - registration, insurance information, driver's license, and anything else that identifies you and your vehicle. It is also important to obtain all relevant information from the other driver. This exchange of information from other people involved in the accident is important - make sure to look at everything, write down the information, and take pictures of it if the other person allows it. Since most cellphones have cameras, you should also take pictures of the accident from every conceivable angle. The more pictures the better - make sure the camera has a date and time stamp for proper documentation. Be sure to ask the police officer how you can obtain a copy of the accident report.

If you keep a checklist of everything you need to do in your car next to your registration, you will be prepared to act responsibly and reasonably if an accident occurs. Accidents can be very stressful - having a list ensures that you do the right thing in a hectic and frantic time.

Jennifer Greenfield is a writer in the auto repair business. For more information on autobody shop Peabody Ma, visit Final Finish at http://www.finalfinishcc.com.
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