You were enjoying a drive along North Point Park or enduring the morning commute on Interstate 43, and the world came to an abrupt halt when you got into a car accident. The noise is gone, you are free of broken bones, and the other guy is out of his car wondering what happened. What do you need to do to ensure that your car gets fixed and all the bills covered without making the mess bigger than it is?
Notify the Police and Call Your Insurance Company
The very first thing is call 911. Whether he goes to the ER at Nicholas Hospital later in the day for a headache, or your cracked light is actually part of a shattered bumper system, you will need a police report. After you hang up with them, give your agent at Heinen & Associates a call. They will walk you through everything you need to do now and in the days to follow. If you end up waiting to speak to somebody, use this handy checklist to get the vital info needed for a fast and complete claim.
The Information You Need to Gather Right Now or as Soon as Possible
- The Police Report: Even if the police do not send a car to the location of the accident, they will still take a report over the phone. Any accident with damages of more than $1,000 or a physical injury requires a report, which is nearly every accident these days. Be honest and specific when speaking to the authorities. This report will be your best source of documentation when fighting an unfair claim.
- Name and Address of the Other Driver: While it may be traditional to ask for their identification and address, it is best to take a picture of their driver’s license and registration, if possible. This guarantees accurate reporting of all the parties involved. Also, take the name and address of all the passengers and any witnesses that stop to help.
- Their Insurance Company: Every driver in Wisconsin is required to have auto insurance or have a declaration of self-insurance filed with the Department of Transportation. You only need the name of the insurance carrier to file the claim.
- Pictures of Both Vehicles and Damaged Property: Your smartphone is your greatest asset at this moment. Snap as many images of the damage and the relationship of both vehicles immediately after the impact. A video is even better. Walk around the entire car for an accurate recording of the damage.
- Images of the Intersection: Did the road play a part in this accident? Grab pictures of the stop signs, lights, potholes, striping, directional arrows, and line of sight. Were there trees or shrubs blocking the view? Taking too many pictures is not possible.
To avoid drama at the scene and afterward, try to limit your conversation to the facts you are gathering. The impulse to apologize or admit even partial fault can cloud the judgment of the officer at the scene, the other party, and even your own insurance company. Wait until later when emotions have calmed to make any claims of accepting fault or placing blame on the other driver.
As always, if you have any questions about your accident claim, the repair process, or where to get your vehicle fixed, your agent at Heinen & Associates is happy to help you as much as possible. Make sure to have our phone number (920) 458-9724 saved in your phone for fast access when you need it most.