How to Respond in a Tough Situation
Being in a car accident is the last thing anyone wants - but when it does happen, there are ways of making sure that the legal and insurance issues are handled with as little stress as possible.
- First of all - stay calm.
- If someone is injured, be sure to call for medical help.
- Make sure you call the police.
- Don't publicly make any statements where you either accuse the other person of causing the accident or take all the blame yourself. It could open you up to legal problems.
- Whatever you do, don't leave the scene until you've had a chance to talk with the officer and you've gotten their name. It's important to make sure that your side of the story goes on the record. Afterward, it's a good idea to get a copy of the police report.
- Make sure you have a pre-printed copy of your insurance information in the glove compartment, along with a camera you can use to provide pictures for the insurance company. A disposable camera with a flash for nighttime or interior shooting is usually best for this.
- In dealing with the other driver, make sure you get their name, address, driver's license number and insurance information - and that they get the same information from you.
- Also, make sure to get information from any witnesses as well.
- Make sure you get pictures of any physical evidence of what could have caused the accident.
- Write down pertinent details such as where the accident took place, what the weather was like, etc.
- Once the information's exchanged, report the accident to the insurance company immediately, even if it's not your fault.
- Make sure you understand how you're covered, and don't be afraid to ask the insurance company to explain the conditions of your coverage and payments.
- Don't be afraid to seek legal advice - and don't sign anything if you don't understand it.
- When you're using a body shop to get repairs to your vehicle, be aware that the insurance company can recommend a shop, but you are under no legal obligation to use its services. You have the legal right to choose the shop to do your repairs.
- Also be aware that insurance companies sometimes try to
dictate what type of parts are used in a vehicle's repair. They might
insist that a shop not use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, as
they are more expensive.
You have a right to know what kind of parts are being used on your vehicle, and to know if your insurance policy dictates what kind of parts can be used in your car. If your policy lets you choose, you have the right to decide for yourself.
- An insurance company also has the right to inspect your vehicle, but it is not required to do so. In addition, they cannot require you to visit one of their own claim centers.
- And finally: Make sure you learn from this accident, but also let yourself move on from what happened. Everyone has an accident once in a while - it's just something that happens.
Great experience. Scott was upfront about needed repairs and maintenance, and didn't try to do anything without my authorization. Also, there was no high pressure to do anything immediately like some shops will try. There is a nice, clean, comfortable waiting area with free wi-fi, and he also has loaner cars available if you don't want to or are unable wait around. I have to drive 20 miles to get to this shop, but it's worth it for an honest mechanic.
I had a great experience at Hitchcock Automotive. They were able to get me in right before the Holidays when everywhere else was busy or was not able to do the service that my car needed. I would highly recommend them to anybody looking for a good place to have work done on their car. Friendly staff and quick service.
Traveling to Sarasota for vacation and brakes were making unusual noise and felt that it should be checked out. Read reviews prior to selection and called and spoke with owner , Scott , who directed me to come in anytime. Upon arrival I was greeted by a very courteous and welcoming owner that listened to my issues and had a tech on it and out for a test ride and on a lift and checked out quickly. Results were nothing to worry about and normal for some vehicles from north with little rusting that can cause some noise or rubbing that will go away and does not harm brakes and that mine were in excellent condition. When I offered my credit card for payment Scott informed me there was no charge as they had done no work!! I have already offered his name to some friends that spend winters here for their auto servicing needs.