What To Do After a Crash

car accident
Posted at 5:30 AM, Mar 03, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 12:03:31-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- There are millions of car crashes every year in the U.S.  Most are fender-benders, and if you've been in one, you know how easy it is to forget important information at the scene. In this Angie's List report: what to do - and what NOT to do - after the crash.

Cars crash happen every day. Emergency responders are usually the first to be called. But what if it's just a minor mishap that's more inconvenient than life threatening? First, stay calm. Then, take notes.

"Most of us carry a camera around on our phones, so it's a great way for you to document what happened. Take pictures of your car; take pictures of the scene because you can have those to share with your insurance company or the police, for that matter," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

Your photos should help tell the story of what happened. They can also expedite an insurance claim -  just make sure it shows points of impact and any road markers.

"Get a snapshot of the license plate of the other party; and very importantly, getting a snapshot of their insurance identification card," said insurance agent Craig Hoge.

In a rear-end crash, it seems easy to assign blame --  but don't be pressured into accepting responsibility until all the facts are gathered.

"You don't ever want to admit fault because in many cases, there's other factors that have happened in an accident that you are not aware of. Somebody, maybe, that it's a no turn on red and they've turned, which can cause, at worst, contributory liability," said Hoge.

Hicks adds: "Don't sign anything at an accident scene unless it's something the police are asking you to sign. What you want to do in that scenario is you just want to be exchanging your information with the other driver. Exchange your contact information and your insurance information, but leave the rest of the documentation to the police."

You can expect an increase in your insurance premium if you have more than two significant claims in a short period of time. The decision to file a claim is simple: if your damage costs less than your deductible, pay for the repair yourself.

Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.