Dealing with the Police When it’s Your Fault
Being the at-fault party in an accident is a nightmare. You are shaken by the accident itself and terrified about your potential liability. However, it is important to remain calm, and follow the appropriate procedures so that claims can be submitted with ease.
Do not admit it was your fault to the other party. It is best to avoid really saying anything that might come back to haunt you in the event that you are taken to court. Be calm and polite, and survey the damage, if you are able. If the other driver is extremely upset and hostile, it is best for you to sit in the car and wait until the police arrive.
Call the police. If any person involved in the accident claims to be injured, or if the damage to either car is more than just a bare dent or a scratch, you are going to have to call the police. Give the police as accurate and detailed information as you can so that a full report can be filed. Again, do not admit fault; simply state what happened to the very best of your knowledge.
Survey the damage. It is important to take photographs of the damage. If your cellular telephone isn’t equipped with a camera, you should keep a camera in your emergency kit in your car. You should also be sure to take pictures of any road signs, damage to property, skid marks on the road or any road traffic management devices.
Speak to eye-witnesses. An eye-witness can include passengers in the other vehicle as well as people on the street who may have seen you. Make sure you ask for their contact information.
Contact your insurance provider. Even if you have cheap car insurance and best comparison, you will still have to notify your insurance agent of the collision. Relate the details as thoroughly and clearly as possible. It is a good idea to call your insurance company while you are still at the scene of the accident; you can have the agent speak to the police officer if you are to shaken to recall the event clearly. If it is determined you were at fault, you will likely find that your insurance rates will increase, and it will be difficult to find cheap car insurance for the amount of time the accident stays on your record, usually about seven years.
Inform your insurance agent of when and where you plan on getting your car repaired, since they might want to take their own pictures of your vehicle before they proceed with accepting your claim. If you have your car repaired without their permission, they can deny you coverage.
File an official accident report with the state. Many states require that a report be filed with a particular agency (probably the Department of Motor Vehicles) in addition to the police if there are injuries or if the property damage exceeds a certain dollar amount. The report is generally required approximately 10 days after the date of the accident. If you are unsure what form to fill out or how to proceed further, ask the police officer at the scene of the accident or contact your local DMV.