Roadside Emergencies (Pt 3)
Back to Part 2
Accident Scene Protocols
Accidents can be very stressful, and it's easy not to remember to do everything you should. The following are some of the things you may want to keep in mind in the event of an accident:
- Notify the police, regardless of how minor the accident appears to be. People will offer to repair your vehicle at the accident scene and later try to renege on their promise if they think they can get away with it.
- Call your insurance roadside assistance provider. It's best for the investigator to arrive and view the accident scene still intact. People's stories evolve over time, however photographs of the undisturbed accident scene do not lie. The location and length of skid marks, debris from broken lamps, damaged utility poles / fences / hedges etc. are sometimes the only indicators that can substantiate or disprove a driver's account of events.
- Be ready to give your vehicle registration and insurance details, as well as your location and information about injuries or the activities of the other party etc when you call for help. Also, note the time the accident occurred, because you will be asked this question.
- Remember that your emergency response provider may be calling you back to update you on their arrival or with other vital information. Try to stay off the phone.
- Get your insurance certificate and driver's license ready for presentation to the police or your rescue service when requested to do so.
- In the event that the police arrive before the investigator or that you choose not to call your service provider, it is your responsibility to record the name and address of the driver of the other car as well as the insurance details. If the driver is not the owner then get the owner's details as well. Make sure that you get the police officer's name, badge no. and station of dispatch. Your insurance company is going to need this information and failure to secure it could delay settlement of your claim.
- Witnesses sometimes make the difference in determining liability in an accident claim. Find out the full names of any willing witnesses and get their contact information including their vehicle registration no. as well as the position from which they observed the collision.
- Accidents sometimes result in court cases; the less you say to the other party about the accident, the better for you. Let them talk to their heart's content, something may slip out.
- In the event that your vehicle has to be towed make sure that you have removed all your personal effects from the vehicle. Accidents scenes can be very chaotic and valuables, documents and keys can be easily misplaced.