WHEN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN
How to Respond in a Tough Situation
Being in a car accident is the last thing anyone wants - but when it does happen, there are ways of making sure that the legal and insurance issues are handled with as little stress as possible.
- First of all - stay calm.
- If someone is injured, be sure to call for medical help.
- Make sure you call the police.
- Don't publicly make any statements where you either accuse the other person of causing the accident or take all the blame yourself. It could open you up to legal problems.
- Whatever you do, don't leave the scene until you've had a chance to talk with the officer and you've gotten their name. It's important to make sure that your side of the story goes on the record. Afterward, it's a good idea to get a copy of the police report.
- Make sure you have a pre-printed copy of your insurance information in the glove compartment, along with a camera you can use to provide pictures for the insurance company. A disposable camera with a flash for nighttime or interior shooting is usually best for this.
- In dealing with the other driver, make sure you get their name, address, driver's license number and insurance information - and that they get the same information from you.
- Also, make sure to get information from any witnesses as well.
- Make sure you get pictures of any physical evidence of what could have caused the accident.
- Write down pertinent details such as where the accident took place, what the weather was like, etc.
- Once the information's exchanged, report the accident to the insurance company immediately, even if it's not your fault.
- Make sure you understand how you're covered, and don't be afraid to ask the insurance company to explain the conditions of your coverage and payments.
- Don't be afraid to seek legal advice - and don't sign anything if you don't understand it.
- When you're using a body shop to get repairs to your vehicle, be aware that the insurance company can recommend a shop, but you are under no legal obligation to use its services. You have the legal right to choose the shop to do your repairs.
- Also be aware that insurance companies sometimes try to
dictate what type of parts are used in a vehicle's repair. They might
insist that a shop not use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, as
they are more expensive.
You have a right to know what kind of parts are being used on your vehicle, and to know if your insurance policy dictates what kind of parts can be used in your car. If your policy lets you choose, you have the right to decide for yourself.
- An insurance company also has the right to inspect your vehicle, but it is not required to do so. In addition, they cannot require you to visit one of their own claim centers.
- And finally: Make sure you learn from this accident, but also let yourself move on from what happened. Everyone has an accident once in a while - it's just something that happens.
Ken Fisk, 06/21/2022
I had just converted my 2020 Hyundai Elantra from a lease to a purchase and now owned a car I thought I was going to turn in. I had not done any of the maintenance except for oil changes as I thought Hyundai would be taking care of that. With the car over 40K miles and due to experience with other prior purchases, I figured I was in need of a transmission oil change, Radiator flush and a engine oil change. The nice people at Cottin's made an appointment and we got together on the appointed date and time. They had the car on the rack about 15 minutes and came out to tell me my transmission oil was nowhere close to being due. Per Hyundai, that was a 120K service and they had a tamper sticker over the plug as it probably should be done at Hyundai direct. I asked them about the radiator. Again, due at approx 80k and my car was only 40k. They offered to still do the service if I really wanted to waste the money, but said it was not necessary. All I really needed was an engine oil change, air/cabin filters and some wiper blades. They took care of those items quickly and efficiently and the cost was very reasonable. Most other shops I know would have done the work I originally requested and not said a word, happy to make the quick buck without me being the wiser. Cottin's on the other hand only did what was needed and did it well. I am very pleased with the services done and will be back in the event I do have a break-down or when I do hit the mileage for the other services. Thank you for being SO honest and transparent. You have earned a customer for life!
Up to 5 qts, regular filter. Plus tax and disposal.
Cannot combine with other offers. Must present coupon. Certain restrictions apply.
Cannot be combined with any other offer Must present coupon. Certain restrictions may apply.