What to do After a Car Accident in 2021

Oh my gosh, you’ve been in a car accident!  What do you do next?!?  Don’t panic…Livingston Insurance Agency is here to help you focus on next steps and how to prioritize them so you are protected.

There are tons of good resources out there on steps to take after a car accident, including these two articles:

After a Car Accident, you should always:

  1. Quickly determine if there are any immediate, obvious injuries. Call 9-1-1 if necessary for EMS to respond.
  2. If you are able, move your vehicle to a safe place near the accident scene before proceeding to the next steps.
  3. Call the Police to file/obtain an official police report.
  4. Do not admit fault or apologize.
  5. Share information with the other involved parties and video the scene.
  6. Notify your trusted agent or insurance carrier depending on when the accident occurs.

Do not leave the scene of the accident until steps 1-5 have been completed. 

BUT, with accidents on the rise and auto repair costs increasing, we have started to see that drivers say one thing at the scene of the accident then change their story whenever insurance gets involved

New Steps to Protect yourself by in 2021:

  1. Always Calling the Police: They are vital in documenting what happened based on the known facts at the time of the accident. No police report = No official documentation.  Then your claim can turn into a “he said, she said” nightmare.   (For our friends in SC, all involved parties will be issued a FR-10.  It’s important that you get this to your insurance agent within 15 days of the accident.)
  2. Do Not Admit Fault or Apologize: In the South, we apologize for everything… I’m sorry you stubbed your toe, I’m sorry you woke up late today, I’m sorry it is raining outside and it messed up your hair.  Something you say at the accident scene could come back and hurt your defense in the future, so it is best to make sure the other vehicle’s passengers are ok and to advise help is on the way.
  3. Video the Scene: Even if you have a love-hate relationship with technology, in this instance, it can really help you out!  Regardless of fault, take a video of the accident scene including the other driver’s licenses and insurance information to document the accident details.  If you can’t video, then pictures are a must!  This is crucial when events are called into question during the claims process.  You may even consider installing dash cameras in your vehicles.  Check out the claim #3 where a dash camera stopped a fraudulent car accident claim from happening.

Recent 2020-2021 Car Accident Claims Examples:

Don’t believe us…here are 3 real-life claim scenarios that we have personally experienced with customers in South Carolina: 

Example 1: The Case of a Different Driver

We once had an insured that was in the right turn lane making a right turn.  The other vehicle (OV) was in the lane to go straight.  The OV instead turned into our insured’s lane and hit their vehicle.  They called the cops, and the OV was cited at-fault. 

When our insured heard from the OV’s insurance company to get their side of the story, the OV’s carrier said they were told another person was driving the vehicle (not the person who hit our insured), and they were told that our insured veered into their lane and hit the OV.  Thankfully, the intersection had cameras, and they were able to pull video footage.  But, what if that intersection had not had cameras and they had not called the police?  That claim could have played out very differently!

Example 2: You ran from the scene, not me!

We had a commercial insured’s employee in a company vehicle stopped at a stop light.  The OV was parked in a parking spot that ran perpendicular to the roadway.  The OV backed out of their spot and into the company vehicle waiting on the red light.  The OV said they were in a rush and needed to get to work so they gave our insured’s employee their contact information and left the scene.  No police called.  No pictures taken by either party.  The OV then tried to file a claim on our insured’s auto policy claiming our insured’s employee hit them, and they were responsible for the OV’s damages.  Cue the “he said, she said” nightmare!

Example 3:  I hit a pedestrian, but my light was green

We will end with a claim story that worked in our insured’s favor since they took steps to protect themselves by installing dash cameras in their vehicles.  One day, our insured was stopped at a red light.  When it turned green, they started to go, but a pedestrian stepped in front of their vehicle out of nowhere.  The pedestrian tried to tell the cops our insured hit them.  Thanks to the dash cam, they were able to prove otherwise! 

Still wondering if a dash cam is worth it…they are not as expensive as you would think!  Check out this one for $30 at Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/SHARPER-IMAGE-720P-Dashboard-Camera-Monitor-270-Degree-Pivoting-Screen-Wide-Angle-Lens-2-4-color-LCD-1-Touch-Audio-Video-DVR-Night-Vision-LED-Recorde/429741079?wl13=1183&selectedSellerId=0

So, in closing, you can never be too careful out there!  If you are not going to protect yourself, who will?  Call the police, do not admit fault, and document the accident scene.  You’ll be thankful you did!

Contact Us any time here:  803-791-1120 or https://livingstoninsurancesc.com/get-coverage