Crucial Information to Include in an Accident Report and Why It’s Important
Around half of the people who are involved in the six million car crashes each year sustain some injury. Even if your accident happens to be a simple fender bender, you still have the headache of vehicular damages, potential auto insurance increases, and the out-of-pocket expense of meeting your deductible. Its crucial you know what information to include in an accident report and how to file a claim, learn those important steps in this article.
With all of the adverse effects of a car accident, you may think you’re getting lucky if the other party tells you not to worry about calling the police or filing a report. Unfortunately, this is far from the whole truth.
We’re going to tell you what information you need to include on a crash report as well as why it’s essential to do so right after your next accident. Keep reading for more details!
Your Account of the Accident
When you have a motor vehicle accident, there is a high chance that the police will be called. Typically, this will mean that the accident report is filled out by the officer on the scene. However, they will still ask you to give a written statement about what happened leading up to and during the accident.
When you do this, you need to be as detailed as possible. Try to remember your rate of speed, whether the other driver was texting or seemed distracted, and if you and the other vehicle were driving in a straight line, turning, or stopped.
This is especially important if you know you were not at fault for the wreck. The more details you can give about the accident and driving conditions, the better your chances of having the officer agree with you and assigning fault to the other driver.
Both you and the other driver’s accounts of the accident will be included in the report so that it is accessible by your insurance companies and for your records.
Insurance and Contact Information
If you happen to have an accident and the police are not called or cannot come to the scene, you will want to fill out your accident report. On this document, be sure to include your insurance and contact information and obtain the same from the other driver.
Some states have specific report forms that are available, while others may require a statement. Regardless of this, having the correct information is crucial if you need to file a medical claim at a later date due to injuries sustained.
Photos Are Important!
After an accident, no matter how small, take photos of the damage to both vehicles. Print these out and either include them with your report or submit them to the agency who is handling the incident.
Pictures are essential as sometimes people will attempt to damage their vehicle after the accident further to defraud their (or your) insurance company. Although this is illegal to do, it still happens, which results in insurance companies having to raise premiums across the board. Additionally, the last thing you want is for someone to claim that you caused more damage than you did and have your rates increase dramatically.
Names of Witnesses
If other people saw the accident happen, you will need to obtain their information as well. These people may be passengers in either of the vehicles involved or only a passerby who stopped to help.
No matter what their involvement was, if they witnessed the accident, they should give their account of the events. Again, this can help officers determine fault and help prevent unnecessary claims against your insurance.
Most of the time, police officers are great about ensuring all witnesses have given their information, but sometimes this can fall through the cracks. If you happen to notice that any party isn’t being included, take the time to write down their name and contact information to include with your statement or report.
State Laws on Accident Reporting
Every state has different laws on when, how, and if an accident must be reported. For instance, in the state of Texas, crashes that result in the death or injury of a party must be reported immediately. Still, accidents that result in damages over $1000 can be reported within ten days.
Continuing with this same state, you may file your own Texas accident report in addition to the officer’s report or may choose not to involve law enforcement at all but still document the accident with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Regardless of your state’s technical laws on accident reporting or how you choose to do it, documenting the crash is always advisable to protect yourself against any lawsuits or fraudulent claims from the other driver. ‘
Staying Safe on the Road
While you can’t guarantee that you will never have an accident, there are a few helpful ways to avoid them or at least minimize the risk of injury should you be involved in one.
Never drive while impaired from alcohol or drugs and, at the same time, observe for other drivers who are driving erratically. Don’t text or use your phone while driving; doing so can cause your reaction time to be twice as slow as it is typically.
Make sure to wear a seat-belt and that children are correctly restrained in the backseat no matter how quick your trip is. Also, always be prepared for the weather conditions in your area; have tire chains available if snow is expected and make sure your wiper blades are working effectively.
Following these tips and obeying all road laws will help to lessen the chances of having to report an accident. However, if you happen to be involved in a crash, you now know exactly what information you should take note of!