One of our colleagues recently was involved in a car accident that totaled the car and involved the police, fire department and a trip to the hospital. Fortunately, everyone is going to recover. He put together this thoughtful review of things to remember before an accident, and afterward. This is the second part of two.
Take Pictures – Most of us have a cell phone that takes pictures. I took shots of the wreck that may come in handy down the road. If you can safely take photos, do so. The position of the two cars after they had come to rest clearly indicate that the other driver had come into our lane, and the police report should reflect that. Still, if YOU have the photo, you KNOW you have the photo, and you will be equipped should there be any future misunderstandings.
Everyone’s X-Rays came back clean, but the ladies are sporting some wicked-looking bruises. We took photos using my good camera to document the injuries. Within 24 hours, the minor boo-boo on my knee has mostly cleared up, so photos as soon as possible after the injury – and every day or so afterwards – may help ensure your insurance company has what it needs to be fair to all parties.
Be Nice – My wife loved her car – called it her Lime Squeeze. We are grateful that nobody was seriously injured, but frustrated that our property was destroyed by another person’s inattention. That said, it’s just metal and plastic (and what looks like a bunch of packing foam!) and can be replaced. The police told me that accidents are chaotic under the best of circumstances, and that angry drivers make the situation much worse.
I told the kid in the other car that I was glad he was OK. I encouraged him to get medical attention given how he bashed his melon into tempered glass at 30 miles per hour.
First responders are humans too, and like anyone else, they would rather help a nice person than a jerk. Do your best to stay calm and pleasant, as you would talking to your doctor or other respected member of the community.
Watch What You Say On Social Media – Bored at the hospital, I posted a photo of the car wreck to my Facebook page with the comment ‘That’ll Buff Out.’ Worried friends asked about our condition, and I said we are fine – just being checked out at the hospital. Later, I explained we had bumps and bruises, soreness and we would be following up with our various and sundry physicians.
I have always been treated fairly by insurance companies whether I have been at fault or not. A few days later, I was standing in the snow holding one of my grandkids’ toboggans while they ran to fetch coca. If a photo of that made it up to Facebook, I can see how that might muddy the waters of an injury claim, even though I was just holding the sled.
In retrospect, perhaps the world and our own interests would have been just fine without my attempt at creating my own personal Facebook meme.
Have Your Insurance Agent On your Cell Phone – I am grateful that I do not have my car insurance from a website company. I called my agent, left a message, and he got back to me to let me know he was on the case. A good agent can offer a great deal of reassurance – and insurance is all about peace of mind. I’ve come to really appreciate the expertise, advice and advocacy of an independent agent, and this event only served to reinforce that an independent agent is the way to go.
Adjust Your Seat Belt Since You Are Wearing It – Most modern cars allow the passenger or driver to adjust their seat belt to account for their height. A maladjusted seat belt could cause more injury than a properly adjusted one. If you visit your dealership, or the fire department someone will be happy to make sure your belt is adjusted for you and show you how to make adjustments.
If you have kids in car seats, the fire department will double-check to make sure the seat is installed correctly.
Click here to read Part One