Posted in Blog on May 7, 2015
An auto accident can be scary, even if it’s a just minor bump. The last thing you want to deal with after that is more conflict and litigation, but it may be necessary. Ensure that you have all the information possible to provide to your attorney, whether you are dealing with an insurance company or another driver.
Colorado law requires that all auto incidents be reported right away. You can report the accident online if there are no fatalities or injuries and if you can provide the name and information of the other driver(s) involved. In other words, if the accident was not a hit-and-run, if no public property was damaged, and if you are sure that no one was driving drunk or otherwise impaired, you may file the official report of your incident online. If any of this is not the case, contact the authorities and ask them to come to the scene.
Colorado has a tort-based system, so it is necessary to establish fault on the part of one or more drivers before an insurance company will pay a claim. Documenting as much as possible at the time of the accident will help both you and your attorney in any potential dispute over fault and/or resulting damages.
First, move to a place where you are safe but do not leave the scene of the accident. Remain calm and treat everyone with courtesy. Don’t make statements someone could interpret as an admission of fault. Provide your name and the name of your insurance company, your insurance agent’s name and your policy number.
To protect yourself from possible identity theft or fraud, do not give your address, phone number or other contact information to anyone involved, including passengers and witnesses, and do not allow anyone to take a photo of your driver license or vehicle registration. The only exception would be giving your contact information to a responding police officer.
Collect names and car insurance information from all drivers involved; with this, you don’t need the contact information from the drivers. Be sure to get names and preferred means of contacting any witnesses.
If you can do so safely, take pictures of the license plates of all involved vehicles, any damage to vehicles or other property. Snap shots of accident debris, skid marks, and anything that may have contributed to the accident, including obscured traffic signs. Pictures of landmarks and street signs are helpful in verifying the location of the accident.
As soon as the accident scene is cleared, before you have the chance to forget anything, write down as many details as you can, including what others said, in their own words, if possible. Write down the names of all police investigators or insurance claims adjustors. If you speak with anyone from the insurance company, write down the date and time of the conversation, the name and title of the representative, and a summary of the conversation; do this for every contact. Finally, keep all of your receipts for any expenses related to the accident, including vehicle repairs, costs for alternative transportation, parking fees and any medical bills. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.