Know what to do after an accident

I hadn’t had a traffic accident in 40 years. Then, suddenly, while I was making a left turn into the inner lane where one should, I was hit on the passenger side by a car that ran the intersection. The traffic signals were out, it was overcast but visibility was good. All the cars were treating the intersection as if stop signs were present as we should when traffic light signals are not functioning. I waited. It was my turn without question. I turned left into the proper, inner, lane and was hit.

The police arrived, paper work was done and statements made by both of us.

After several weeks, I received a notice that I was partially responsible. No explanation was given. I called and the agent sent me copies of the report and police sketch of the accident, which was nowhere near what happened. I appealed but was told that the file was closed and could not be opened.

What to do:

1. After checking for possible injuries to self and the other driver, start your defense with all the information you can get.

2. Witnesses, photos (camera or cell phone), sketch accident scene (have witnesses do same).

3. Exchange insurance information. etc.

4. Describe scene in detail — weather, visibility, traffic, road names and directions.

5. Immediately check the police sketch — remember, they weren’t there. It was long after two insurance company representatives decided my fate that I learned just how wrong the police sketch was.

6. Carefully word your statement. In my case, “I didn’t see the other vehicle coming,” was translated “you weren’t paying attention.”

Don’t let the police hurry you! If you don’t get things right then, you don’t get a second chance.

Drive safely and be prepared for someone who isn’t.

Bob Ryan


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