by Venus Zoleta, on category "Car Insurance"
July 8, 2019
Even if you do everything to avoid a car accident and drive carefully, there’s no telling if and when you’ll figure in a road crash.
Vehicular collision statistics prove how dangerous Philippine roads can be, especially in Metro Manila where many accident prone roads are located. In 2018, Metro Manila recorded 116,906 accidents that led to deaths, injuries, and damage to property (averaging at 320 daily), based on Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) data. Cars comprised the majority of total vehicles involved in accidents (51.91%).
Of course, you don’t want to be part of the statistics, but accidents can happen anytime. This is why it’s crucial to know what to do after a car accident before it occurs. Properly handling the aftermath of an accident will keep you safe, prevent the situation from getting worse, and help you make a successful car insurance claim.
Always remember to take these steps after getting into a car accident.
When you figure in a collision, stop your car and never leave until everything has been resolved, even if it’s a minor incident.
Don’t move your car to the roadside just yet, as you need to document later the exact positions of the vehicles involved in the accident.
Assess the situation first before you alight from your car, especially if you’re on an expressway where vehicles are speeding through.
Once you’re sure you can get out safely from your vehicle, put it in park and pull the handbrake to prevent your car from moving. Also, turn on the hazard lights to make your vehicle more visible and place a warning triangle to alert oncoming motorists.
Check yourself and your companions to know if someone has been injured or needs immediate medical care. Check also the people in the other car; they may also need help.
If anyone needs medical assistance, call the national emergency hotline (911) or MMDA hotline (136) to ask for it.
You need an accurate record of the incident, so be sure to take as many pictures of the accident scene from multiple angles. The images will be useful for deciding who is at fault and backing up your car insurance claim or any lawsuit.
Make sure to get the following kinds of shots:
To prevent more accidents and a traffic jam, drive your car to the side of the road. If your car can’t be moved because of a breakdown, remain in the spot of the accident until investigators arrive.
Approach the other driver and get the following details about him/her:
If the driver has no car insurance, his or her driver’s license number and contact details will suffice.
What if the other party doesn’t want to cooperate with you? If the other driver is difficult to deal with (e.g., having a temper flareup, refusing to provide information, etc.) or you’re a victim of a hit and run, take any information you can, such as the description of the vehicle and plate number. Then contact the police immediately.
Share your own details with the other driver, too. This is why it’s important to always carry your car insurance policy, driver’s license, and other important documents for cases like this. Having a digital copy of your car insurance, or an e-policy, can be really helpful in such times.
Refrain from admitting fault to anyone even if you feel you did something wrong. At this point, you’re still in a state of shock and confusion, and you’re not fully aware of what really has happened. It’s the police’s job to investigate and determine who’s liable for the car accident.
Try to reach a settlement with the other party. If neither of the involved parties agrees, call the MMDA hotline to request traffic enforcers or investigators to come to the car accident scene and make a record of it.
While you’re still at the accident scene, call your insurance company or agent immediately regardless of who’s at fault, the extent of damage to your vehicle, and whether somebody has been injured or not.
Doing so will protect you in case the other driver files a claim against you or when you find out later on that you’re injured or your car has incurred more damage from the accident.
Report the incident to your insurance provider, making sure to provide accurate details. Ask about the requirements for claims processing and how your policy can possibly reduce any repair costs. The agent will explain to you the next steps to take and how to make a claim.
Let the traffic investigators handle the situation when they arrive at the accident scene. Get their name so that you can get back to them later when you review the details of the accident. Remain in the area until the investigators allow you to go.
Stay in touch with the investigators. If they ask for it, file a car accident report at the local police station. Present your vehicle documents and fill out a form to narrate your account of the incident.
In some cases, drivers involved in a car accident are asked to stay in the police station while the investigators are gathering evidence for the police report and still determining who’s at fault. You might be held by the police for investigation purposes, but this doesn’t mean you’re being detained or imprisoned.
Get the car accident report from the police—this will help speed up the processing of your insurance claim.
Lastly, after doing all the steps above, you can now file a claim with your car insurance provider. But before you proceed with it, consider if making a claim makes more financial sense than paying for the repair cost by yourself. Compute your participation fee (the amount you’ll pay out of pocket when filing a claim)—if it’s higher than your repair bill, you can save more money if you shoulder the cost on your own.
After a car accident, you’d naturally panic and get scared. Remember to stay calm and collected. Also, try your best not to lose your temper. Getting into an accident is stressful as it is, and turning beast mode won’t improve the situation. Deal with it in a levelheaded manner to avoid complicating things.