Truckers Report Accidents Promptly and Reduce Loss Severity
This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Insuremart Inc. does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Insuremart Inc. shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.
Prompt accident reporting can help you out in reducing the total severity of your loss. Here are some ways to help keep you organized and ready to take action if or when that day arrives. The reporting process begins with you. How you respond to the crash will ultimately affect the severity of any financial losses. It's very important to remember that as a professional driver your reaction and how you behave at the crash site will be a reflection on your company as well as your trucking community, be calm, stay focused and in control.
REPORT an accident immediately. Any agent will tell you that you should report your accident within the first 24 hours of the incident to insure you have the best chances in resolving your claim successfully. When you promptly report an accident to your Insurance Carrier, the claims department gets to work immediately on any investigation they need to do for your claim. They need to work diligently at gathering facts and evaluating all information obtained so the claim can be resolved in a timely and ethically fashion. Any late reporting of a claim can result in a loss of evidence, spoiled cargo, changes to the crash scene with much unnecessary downtime. You play a vital role in making this partnership with your claims agent successful in resolving this claim.
When you are involved in an accident make sure you have secured the scene to protect yourself as well as others from harm. Once you have done so, get on the phone and contact your insurance agent to start the reporting process. Most insurance companies prefer you call from the scene of the collision regardless of perceived fault or how minor the accident appears. This secures your position to be able to relay all information properly to the claims adjusters. If your carrier has a 24 hour call center to report the accident they should be able to provide all proper steps and measures to take and help guide you on accident scene procedures. Some operators will be able to conference in their insurance agent and or company representatives to keep everyone informed about the situation.
ACCIDENT SCENE PROCEDURES require you, the professional driver, to work at staying calm and in control during moments of crisis. It can be a very confusing scene for everyone involved once emergency personnel and law enforcement arrive. Your professionalism at the scene of the crash has an impact. We listed some helpful tips to consider so you can maintain focus and control after a crash.
* These are merely suggestions and are not to be all-inclusive or in any particular order
1. Set out warning devices when necessary
2. Do not move your vehicle until instructed by authorities
3. Make sure you contact the authorities, your company and medical assistance (if needed)
4. Stay at the scene; be courteous
5. Fill out the crash report at the scene
6. Take appropriate pictures of the general scene, vehicles, cargo, etc. (check out the tips provided below)
7. Do not sign anything or make statements except to the authorities, your company, or to your insurance carrier/agent
8. Remain at the scene until all requirements are met, or as instructed by the authorities
PICTURES & VIDEO are your greatest ally. Let the photos tell the story of what happened. Documenting the scene and having good photo and/or video footage of the incident will expedite the investigation and the settlement of a claim. In some cases it will help prove to be an extremely effective cost saving mechanism during this time. Potentially minimizing the cost of any losses incurred due to the accident. What constitutes a good photo? Here are some tips for taking appropriate pictures of the crash.
- Take multiple pictures of the roadway where it happened. Find all different types of angles including tire marks/skid marks, highway construction barricades, potholes, any disturbances in the pavement. Back track your route and get some pictures to see how you entered the collision. Take photos from the other driver's perspective as well.
- To aid in tracking down witnesses by your insurance company or the authorities it would be a good idea to get a photo of anyone at the crash scene. Take a photo of their vehicle and license plate if possible. This will help locate any witnesses if needed.
- Are there other drivers or passengers involved in the crash walking around uninjured? Take a picture or capture video of them. This will be another helpful ally if your Insurance Carrier needs to dispute injury claims. However, we DO NOT recommend taking photos or video of people injured in the accident. Pictures of someone injured might not accurately represent the extent of their injury and taking photos of the deceased may definitely be seen as inappropriate. Exercise good judgement.
- Photograph and or record all vehicles or objects that were involved in the crash, include photos of the damages to their vehicles or objects. Take various angled photos. The more details that emerge are all extremely helpful in determining loss.
- Take photos of any traffic signals, traffic signs that apply to the scene.
*For more information on using cameras properly at a crash scene, please contact an agent from your Insurance Carrier.
We hope you never find yourself in this situation and we wish for the health and safety of everyone on the road. We hope you find these tips helpful when navigating tough waters such as these. For more information contact your insurance agent and find out how best to maintain control of the situation with their specific guidelines. Keeping important phone numbers handy in your truck is a great way to stay ready in preparedness of any emergency.
August 21st, 2020