As the proud survivor of 4 car accidents in the past 2 months, I feel securely qualified to give advice on what to do, and, more importantly, what not to do, when you’re in a car accident. Here are your checklists (please note, these mainly apply to immediately after the accident occurs. Unless it kills you. In which case you’ll be dead so you won’t be able to do or not do any of these things):
1. Take pictures
Make like an Asian tourist and snap snap snap snap snap! Take every possible picture at every possible angle. And don’t move your car until you’ve gotten every photo of where it was and what it looked like when the accident occurred. And do the same with any other cars involved too, if you can. If the other driver tries to move their car don’t be afraid to voice your strongly worded disapproval. And fuck everyone who’s honking at you for blocking traffic. #dealwithit.
Trust me, you’ll be glad you got all paparazzi up in that bitch later on when you’re trying to put together the pieces of what happened and prove to State Farm in forensic detail exactly why and how you’re not at fault and they display a shocking level of idiocy and lack of integrity and you’ll have to take their ass up and up and up the ladder until there isn’t anywhere for them to go but down I mean we’re talking all the way to the Supreme Court if it comes to that don’t underestimate us STATE FARM you have no fucking idea the dragon you just woke.
2. Exchange info
ALL the info. Driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, phone numbers, home addresses, emails, insurance info (including policy numbers and effective dates), full legal names, dates of birth–literally everything there is to know about each other. No detail is too small, no fact too insignificant. I mean fuck, ask them what their relationship status is, if they like to drink and what size they wear if you have to. PAINT. A. PICTURE. people! You never know what you’re gonna need.
3. Call the police
I don’t care if you barely scratched their bumper. A police report is going to be vital later on when things get crazy and people start accusing people of untrue things because they don’t want to pay for things or get in trouble. In other words, a police report will help you in your crusade to take the other party and your insurance company DOWN.
4. File a report with the DMW
You’re legally obligated to do this if there are any injuries/deaths or there is more than $700 worth of property damage (at least in California) in order to prove you had insurance at the time of the accident. Don’t be the asshole without insurance. Why the FUCK should someone else essentially have to pay for YOUR car insurance. Literally if you’re that person drive off a cliff.
5. Note the date and time and where it occurred
You need to record EVERY fact that is associated with the accident. If ever there was a time to let your OCD run rampant, this is it.
6. Note what happened to cause the accident
To the best of your ability. Your veins are going to be pumping adrenaline and everything is going to be a blur, so just try to keep your cool and not be rushed by anyone and walk yourself through your experience and perspective of what happened. Write it down so you don’t have to worry about remembering it. This part is essential, because we forget everything. We can’t even remember when we put our tampon in, let alone all the events that led up to and occurred during a car accident.
7. Try to get a witness
Whether that’s someone standing nearby or a security camera at a business close by–ask around because your insurance company will ask you for witnesses. But make sure they’re reliable. Of course every witness testimony is going to be subjective, but I’m just saying maybe don’t ask the junkie whose home on the curb you crashed into.
8. Ask to bypass insurance if the damage is minimal
And there were no injuries. And everyone involved is honest/not an asshole. That way, you can avoid raising premiums. Because the last thing we need is a $250 bump in our monthly rate for barely tapping into our sweet old Asian man neighbor who we’ve actually always admired from afar and has a cute little dog and we think they’re best friends and we’re kind of glad this happened actually because we were finally introduced to him even though we’ve only been neighbors for 5 years (although let’s be real we still don’t know how to pronounce his name).
TO NOT DO:
1. Admit fault
Honestly even if it’s totally your fault, don’t admit it at the scene. For starters, you may FEEL like it’s your fault/you may feel guilty, but when you’ve had a chance to rationally review the situation you may come to realize it actually wasn’t your fault. Also, if you admit fault, you pretty much just nailed your own coffin shut. I’m not saying it’s completely irreversible necessarily, but it can and WILL be used against you.
2. Make any promises
Don’t say your insurance will take of it, or you’ll pay for anything out of pocket, or that you’ll take your car to any specific shop. You are not in the condition to say things that make sense right after an accident. Actually you’re never in that condition. But just don’t talk. And if the other person is a pushy chubby foreign exchange student driving daddy’s $100k car and still in braces, tell him to kindly fuck off, as you will not be pressured into any decisions at this time.
3. Say you’re sorry
You’d think it would be ok to say sorry, regardless of fault, because we’re compassionate human beings we’re not ANIMALS. But NOPE. Because the other people involved will turn on you faster than you can finish your sentence (“…NOT sorry. I WAS GOING TO SAY SORRY NOT SORRY.”) and use that against you too, as proof of you admitting fault. Saying you’re sorry is NOT you actually admitting fault, but people will spin that shit until it turns to gold for them and you’re left with nothing but a rotting pile of shit to trudge through. That’s what you get for being decent. Have I taught you NOTHING?!? NEVER be nice to ANYONE!!!
Don’t try to determine what happened outwardly. Keep all that shit to yourself. You don’t want to come to any mutual conclusions with the other party. Because then they’ll run off to your insurance company like a little tattletale bitch and tell them you both agreed on something that you did NOT, you were just throwing ideas out there, just MAKIN’ CONVERSATION.
5. Leave the scene
Obviously. If you’re the person that hits and runs, be prepared, because I’m going to find you and I’m going to hit and run you right the fuck over.
6. Call your insurance company right away
Give yourself a day to let the adrenaline leave your system and to gather your thoughts so you can present them with the most cohesive depiction of the accident. But ALSO, do not let them bully you into confessing fault or agreeing to a liability decision or payout number or anything else right away. They’ll want to get rid of you as soon as possible, so just make sure you remain calm and assertive. If you need to scream hysterically at them in order to accomplish that, I fully support you going ballistic.
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