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Your Company Vehicle Was In An Accident – Now What?

Your Company Vehicle Was In An Accident – Now What?
September 20, 2018 Chris Fanchi

When an accident happens

No matter how big or small your company, and no matter how many company vehicles you have on the road, it is beneficial to have a motor vehicle accident plan in place. This plan will help guide your mobile employees when an accident occurs, ensuring they act in the best interests of your business and follow all legal requirements.

What does such a plan look like? We’re glad you asked! Below we’ve outlined 11 critical steps that should be included in your plan.

  1. Stop Immediately! While taking the steps necessary to avoid another accident, drivers should stop their vehicle to prevent further damage and leave the scene of the accident intact. Drivers should check for personal injuries and call for medical assistance immediately if needed. Drivers should not leave the scene of the accident; ask for assistance from a bystander if needed.
  2. Clear the Roadway. Depending on your state’s laws, it may be required for those involved in the accident to clear the roadway if it can be done safely in order to limit the accident’s impact on traffic. Your driver should also contact the Department of Public Safety or local lay enforcement authorities to get an official report created for the accident. Your driver should also make arrangements to obtain a copy of that report.
  3. Do Not Argue. Your driver should avoid making any statements – written or oral – regarding who was at fault for the accident. Any such admission may damage your company’s ability to defend a case of legal liability. Allow the authorities to determine fault or liability based on the facts of the scene. Your driver may be required to sign a traffic citation, but this signature does not constitute a legal admission of guilt.
  4. Do Not Engage in Hostile Behavior. It is important that your driver keep their cool, even if another person involved in the incident is being hostile. In such an event, your driver should only engage with law enforcement authorities and rely on those authorities to collect the information you need.
  5. Record Names and Addresses. Your driver should collect the name and address of all witnesses and occupants of involved vehicles as well as each license plate number and, if possible, take at least 2-3 digital photos of each vehicle involved.
  6. Exchange Insurance Information. Your driver should collect insurance information from all involved parties. You may want your driver to provide additional contact information for someone inside your company that is assigned to deal with such incidents.
  7. Have a Towing Policy. You should provide your drivers with a towing procedure to follow after the accident if their vehicle is inoperable. This procedure should include tow operators to contact and locations that you would like the vehicle towed to.
  8. Collect All Valuables and Confidential Information. Your driver should collect all personal items as well as all business items/documents that are in the vehicle before leaving the vehicle. This may include company credit card, forms (completed and not), log books, keys, and any other property that may be easily stolen. The driver should leave the doors to the vehicle locked and leave the keys with the manager of the tow location.
  9. Immediately Report the Accident to the Company. You should provide a designated contact person for your drivers to inform about the accident. If that person is unavailable, the driver should have an office number to contact where a message can be left if it is after hours.
  10. Fill Out Worker’s Compensation Form. If your driver is injured in the accident, the driver should fill out a Worker’s Compensation Insurance Form as soon as possible.
  11. Complete and Submit All Reports. Your driver should have a fixed period of time (within 24 hours if possible) to complete a submit all reports. For you to be able to move forward with insurance claims, repairs or replacements of the vehicle, and any legal actions that need to be taken, you will want to have your driver’s full account in hand very quickly.

This isn’t an all-encompassing list as there may be additional steps you’ll want to add that apply to your particular company or industry. Be sure you review all state and local traffic laws as well to avoid unintentionally violating such laws with your internal rules.

Verify Everything With Tracking

While you await your driver’s report on the incident, you can pull the vehicle’s information using your fleet management software. With Rhino’s software, you will have access to the vehicle’s location leading up to the accident, the vehicle’s speed, and reports of any improper driver behavior such as speeding and hard braking which may have contributed to the accident occurring. You can use your tracking data to validate your driver’s claims which will help you protect your business if the incident ends up in court.

Not tracking yet? Give us a call at 800-293-0420 today to find out how easy it is to get started!