Traffic accidents usually happen in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, they are simply a nuisance to the parties involved and damage from the crash is minimal. Serious collisions, however, can result in injury, or sometimes death, to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. Generally, the best thing to do immediately following traffic accidents of any magnitude is to make sure everyone involved is okay. Then, emergency services or law enforcement should be called so that an ambulance can be dispatched to the scene, if needed, and an accident report can be filed by police.
When minor traffic accidents occur, the local law enforcement authorities should be called so that a police report can be filed. When an officer arrives at the scene, he will usually request a driver's license, auto insurance card, and vehicle registration from each of the drivers. He uses this information for the police report. The officer will usually assess the damage each car sustained, after making sure that nobody is hurt. Then, he will often speak to the drivers individually to get each person's story, which can help determine who might have been at fault. When speaking to the police, it is always best to remain calm and simply tell them what happened.
In addition to interviewing involved parties and witnesses, the officer will probably look at other clues, such as skid-marks on the road, weather conditions, and the type of damage each vehicle sustained. This information is helpful to determine which driver will be issued a traffic ticket for causing the accident. The person who is at fault is generally the one whose insurance company will cover the cost of the other car owner’s damages. At the conclusion of the officer’s brief investigation, he will usually give each driver a copy of the police report, which insurance companies often require in order to process a claim for damages.
Each car owner should contact his or her insurance company as soon as possible following traffic accidents. The insurance agent will usually ask a series of questions, request a copy of the police report, and set up an appointment for a claim’s adjuster to inspect the vehicle. This is generally necessary to determine the amount of money the insured individual is entitled to receive for auto repairs. Sometimes, the funds are paid directly to the car owner. Other times, an auto body repair shop may receive payment for services directly from the insurance company.
When physical injury occurs in traffic accidents, the insurance company may pay for medical expenses as well as property damage. This money is generally sent directly to the hospital, doctor, or physical therapist. In some cases, a person may receive additional compensation as reimbursement for lost time at work. The compensation an injured party receives usually depends on the coverage limits of the insurance policy.