What Do You Do In the Event of a Claim? An article written by Claims Advocate Nicole Talbot
So now what… You have had an accident, now what do you do?
First and foremost, if serious injuries are involved; there is a suspected impaired driver involved, a driver does not have proper documentation and/or one or more vehicles are not drivable, Call 9-1-1
If you are involved in a serious accident, stop your vehicle, turn on your emergency flashers and shut down your vehicle.
Do not move your vehicle until the police arrive.
Protect yourself and the scene, place your warning devices (reflective triangles), assist the injured but do not move anyone and wait for medical assistance.
Depending on the jurisdiction, quite often accidents must be reported to the police within 24hrs of any of the following:
1. The accident involves damages over $2,000.00
2. Someone sustained an injury or perished in the accident
3. Where a crime was committed, including an impaired driver
4. There is an uninsured or unlicensed driver
5. A government vehicle is involved or the accident involves a vehicle transporting dangerous goods
At the accident scene, here are some key actions you should take to assist your claim:
Photo & Video Evidence
Dashcams can clearly document the accident.
There are many instances where video footage can clearly reflect the accident and dispute a third-party statement. Still don’t have a dashcam? If safe to do so and appropriate to the situation, take a photo from the driver’s seat as quickly as possible.
Avoid photographing people without consent, but a photo of the vehicles in position could help your insurer argue fault and substantiate the driver's statement of what occurred.
This can be especially true when the accident involves only minor damage and the vehicles are going to be moved out of the way of traffic. While a photo is not a guarantee, it can assist in proving your position at the time of the incident and assist your insurer when arguing fault for the collision.
Securing Third Party information is critical. You can meet reluctance on the part of the third party, to have them provide their information.
If possible & available, obtain photos of the third party driver’s license, registration card, license plate and insurance liability card information in a clear and readable photo.
At the very least, the insurance liability card, or registration card in government run insurance Provinces, will assist your broker/insurer to locate the insurer information for the third party.
Without documentation indicating whom the third party insurer is, including the third party name, insurance company and policy number, it can take weeks to locate the information required. Even when the police attend the scene, obtaining the third party information sometimes is missed, especially when injuries or fatalities are involved, which can then complicate and delay your insurance claim later on.
If possible after the accident, having a driver write down their statement as soon as possible helps to cement the specifics of what happened as details can be quickly forgotten or
interpreted differently after some time to reflect. Include hand-drawn diagrams and photo evidence of signs, weather, and road conditions as well as the landscape and terrain when possible.
These photographs may help your insurer to speak to your fault position when handling your claim.
When possible, obtain the name and phone number of any witnesses.
Witnesses must be independent of the accident but can be crucial in helping your insurer to determine fault for an accident.
Any passenger in a vehicle involved in the accident cannot be used as an independent witness.
Other drivers at the scene may have seen the accident and can help in proving light signals, distracted driving issues or other factors that may have contributed to the accident.
When there is a spill or release associated with your accident, call 9-1-1 immediately so
that the dispatch can arrange to have the proper authorities attend the scene and mitigate any environmental impacts as quickly as possible.
Failure to report a spill or release can be costly and can lead to convictions of those involved. A spill or release does not have to be a hazardous material in order to impact the environment.
A spill can simply be a material not naturally occurring at a specific location. For example, a load of sand could be considered a non-hazardous material. However, overturned into an estuary or wetland, the sand could create huge environmental impacts for which you will most likely be liable for, if damages were to occur.
As soon as safe to do so, taking photos of your damage, the third party damage as well as any damage done to the surrounding area can save you many headaches later.
Only take photos if safe to do so. Once the police have secured the scene or the involved vehicles have been moved to a safe area, you should take photos up close, from two feet and from five feet.
Good clear photos can indicate any damages, which may have existed prior to your collision, the overall condition of the third party vehicle as well as what damages actually occurred from your collision.
Additional damage done, to any vehicle, between the time of the accident and when a claim is reported to an insurer should not be considered in a claim.
Once an accident occurs, you cannot go back in time to undo it. However, some well-timed documentation and decisions can assist you and your insurer in managing your claim in the most efficient manner. As your Claims Advocate, having the information above at the time of reporting your claim may help in reducing the amount of time you have to deal with an accident and the resulting claim, allowing you to get back on the road faster.
For more information on what to do after an accident occurs, or are interested in working with Leibel Insurance Group, contact us at email@example.com
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