If you have been in a car accident, remember these steps to ensure your rights are protected!
Whether you find yourself on the freeway or in a residential neighbourhood, any type of car accident requires you to follow a certain procedure to make sure you are not putting your rights at risk or breaking the law.
When an accident happens:
- Do not move your vehicle unless traffic is unable to pass safely and be sure to put on hazard lights immediately
- Call the police and co-operate fully with them, emphasizing any and all injuries you are aware of right away
- Exchange names, addresses and insurance particulars with all parties involved in the accident as well as the names and addresses of any witnesses possible
- Do not accept money or fault and do not agree to forget about the accident, because until your vehicle has been inspected by a professional it is impossible to know the true measure of damage
- Record the event by writing notes, taking pictures and keeping track of statements from other drivers, but do not admit or deny any fault for the accident with anyone other than the police or your lawyer
- Report the accident to your insurance company
Filing an Insurance Claim:
Filing an insurance claim can be a stressful and emotional process, usually because it is tied to a traumatic event like experiencing a car accident. However, there are some things you can do to help ease this process.
- It is important to understand completely what your insurance company is willing to cover before you get any work done on your vehicle after an accident.
- If you have repairs done to your vehicle, make sure that you save an official receipt from the repair shop that details all the work they completed, with your name and address clearly identified, as you may have to submit this with your insurance claim.
- Check all of your repairs at the repair shop, once you have returned home to ensure you are satisfied with the work, find out how your insurer handles supplemental repairs in case the repair shop finds more damage to your vehicle than what was originally estimated.
- Always ask your insurance company if they have a list of preferred repair shops in your area, because some insurance companies will already have a system in place that can make processing your claim and getting your car repaired even faster.
- Lastly, remember to contact your insurer as soon as possible after the accident and file a complete claim. You may have difficulty processing your claim if you are late or found to be withholding details.