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What to do while waiting for the police?
Waiting for the police is not an issue. Sometimes, they will be at the scene within minutes of your accident.
Sometimes, however, it will be an hour. Sometimes they will never come.
I believe this is the best time for you to collect evidence and document your claim. These minutes are priceless and you will never have this time back. Make sure you use it wisely.
While waiting for the police, you should ask for insurance information, names, vehicle information, and injuries. Be aware that everything you say can (and probably will) be used against you.
You do not want to sound apologetic because insurance companies will take that as an admission of fault. Equally you do not want to sound like you are being defensive (you do not want to get into a fistfight when waiting for the police or an ambulance).
You basically want a prompt resolution so you can go on with your life. Do listen closely to the description of the accident as told by the other party (most party accounts of the same accident differ in favor of the one who relays the story).
Learn what happened according to them, but do not argue or tell them that it is not what happened. Just be evasive. Say things like:
-- Boy, I am glad my kids were not with me
-- Is there anyone hurt in your vehicle? (This makes you look like you care, puts their guard down, and does not show that you are at fault).
-- Well, at least no one is SERIOUSLY hurt (note: you did not say that nobody was hurt, you said no one was SERIOUSLY hurt).
-- I wonder when the police are going to show up.
You need to be looking for witnesses.
If people stop by and ask if everyone is okay, ask them if they saw what happened.
Ask for business cards or just take their telephone number. It is very crucial to get an independent witness. Again, what happens while waiting for the police can determine who is at fault!
Most of the time these witnesses are the only ones that could persuade an insurance company that your claim is valid.
However, once they leave the scene of the accident, there is no way to find out who they are. Looking for witnesses could be the most important thing you can do while waiting for the police. Independent witnesses are very powerful against an adjuster either in court or in an arbitration panel!
While you are waiting for the police and firefighters, many people come to check out if everyone is okay. This is the right time to ask them to please stay.
Many witnesses leave once they know that the police are on their way unless you ask them to stay!
Look at the position of the vehicles and your exact location (streets). Look for skid marks (how long are those), and signs of vehicles breaking prior to the impact.
Take pictures of your own skid marks, they are strong evidence that you tried to avoid the accident. If you have already been waiting for police for quite a long time, call 911 again!
When you believe that you have everything you need, you should go back to your vehicle and wait. When and while waiting for the police, there are three things you need to do:
1. If there is a witness at the scene, make sure you write down their information. Make sure to ask them to stay until the police arrive. Explain to them that they saw what happened and that they might be the only persons who can resolve this big mess. Most people will stay until the police arrive.
2. Call the other person’s insurance company. If you do not have their number, then call information and they will route your call.
Tell them that you have been in an accident with their insured and that the police officer is looking to confirm if there is an actual liability insurance policy active. You need to confirm this before the police leaves the scene.
Police officers only look to see if you have proof of insurance at the scene.
I cannot tell you how many times people drive off the scene and call the other person’s insurance company to file a claim only to learn that the other party’s policy was canceled due to non payment.
When you buy insurance, the insurance card or the proof of insurance card has dates for six months of coverage, but that does not mean that the responsible party is current on their payments.
If you confirm coverage, thank them and hang up (do not give a recorded statement).
If they do not have coverage, then tell the police officer so a citation will be issued to the other person.
Many jurisdictions will not allow police officers to write tickets a day or two after the accident. So, you want to make sure that they get a ticket for that.
3. Draw a draft diagram of the accident scene.
Here, you have the vehicles, streets, damages, signs, and everything you need to draw a good diagram.
This will be a draft for you only. You will have to review it and make sure that it is compelling enough and that it portrays what happened.
If you have camera cellular phone, then this is the best time to use it!
It is okay to take pictures while you are waiting for the police. But, remember that you should not look like you are a professional photographer looking to frame someone.
This diagram does not have to be your best work. Cars can simply be rectangles, and roads can just be two lines.
This will help you refresh your memory later on. Note that if you do not have time to do this at the scene, then you need to do it as soon as you can.
Remember, the time you are waiting for the police can help you with your accident claim. Use this time wisely!
2. Do I get out of the car?
3. Do I move the car after the crash?
4. Do I have to call the police after an accident?
5. What to do while waiting for the police!
6. What to do when the police gets there?
7. What to do if the paramedics come to the scene of the accident
8. Should I go in the ambulance from the vehicle accident scene?
9. Should I go to the emergency room after an accident?
10. Do I have to report the claim?
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