The Pryor Times

Lifestyles

December 24, 2013

Handling holiday auto accidents

PRYOR, OK — Oklahoma Farm Bureau

OKLAHOMA CITY – Many families will travel the Oklahoma roads this holiday season stretching from Thanksgiving through the New Year, and Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance offers tips to help Oklahomans prepare for potential auto accidents and avoid ruining their holiday.

“It’s important to be prepared in case you are involved in an accident while driving to your holiday destination. It’s not a fun thing to plan for, but if the accident is minor, being prepared will help you get through the necessary process and on to your loved ones more quickly,” said John Wiscaver, vice president of public affairs, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance.

When you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to know what actions to take to protect yourself and your family. Here are some simple guidelines that will help you if you’re in an accident this season:

* Call the police. If possible, call the police to ensure that a detailed and accurate report is made before you leave the scene. The police report can be the best evidence to record the cause of the accident.

 * Preserve the scene. If it is safe for all parties, preserve the scene of the accident until the police arrive, including not moving any vehicles and asking witnesses to stay. If witnesses must leave, first ask to collect their contact information and description of what they witnessed.

* Gather information. While waiting for the police, gather the other driver’s insurance information, including name, driver’s license number, address, insurance company and insurance policy number. If possible, take photos of the scene, all vehicles involved. This will help you if you need to submit a liability coverage claim for the other driver's damaged vehicle.

* Safety is the first priority. While you’re gathering information, be cautious. Be aware of other vehicles passing by, and don’t put yourself in the path of traffic or in a situation where you could come in contact with moving vehicles. Also, if the other party gets confrontational or you have reason to be concerned for your safety, do not put yourself in harm’s way. Wait for the police to deal with the potentially confrontational other driver(s).

* Don’t admit fault. Do not admit fault in the accident, but simply detail the events as they occurred. Even saying, “I’m sorry” could be used in the claims process to show you are at fault.

* Write down what happened. Most insurance claim processes require a brief description of how the accident occurred. You should write it down quickly after the accident, while the memories are still fresh. Be thorough and exact, and use clear language in your description.

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