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What to do when accidents happen.

  With no seeming end in sight to the icy weather, there has been no shortage of accidents.  Most of these accidents are minor, but in many ways the minor accidents are the worst kind.  Minor accidents mean a lot of headaches involving body shops, mechanics, and most importantly, your insurance carrier.  One of the things that goes hand in hand with these accidents is that traffic tickets are usually given out, whether they are “leaving the scene of an accident”, “failure to yield”, “failure to use a traffic signal” or a dozen others in between.
The unfairness involved in this stems from the fact that the officer are almost never physically present when the accident occurs, and they don’t have the time or ability to put together an actual accident report (they do on occasion, more on that in a bit).  This means that you essentially have a “he said, she said” situation that normally should be fairly clear cut.  Here is where this will get tricky for you: as far as your insurance company is concerned, this accident is your fault (even if your tickets gets dismissed).  You will be on the hook for whatever fees they want to add on, unless you take steps to make sure that you are covered.
First, you need to make sure that if you come into contact with the officers, that you give them every piece of information that you possibly can to confirm your side of the story.  Politely badger them if you have to, but make sure that you are the one in there making yourself heard.  The reason for this is two-fold: one, you put yourself in a better position to guarantee that they will find in your favor.  Second, it becomes more likely that they will create and file an accident report.  An accident report is a crucial step in the process because it essentially stands in as a finding of fact by the officers as to how responsible (by a percentage) you were or were not for your particular accident.  This is what insurance companies rely on when they decide on raising your rates.  You WANT the officers to make that report.
Second, you need to cover all of your bases in terms of tickets.  Presuming that the officers didn’t just take your word for it (or you never saw them) you have to make sure that you are winning this case on all fronts, and that usually means that you are going to have to fight (and usually win outright) the case against you so that there is nothing to fall back on if you have to file a mini-tort action to collect on damages.
Finally, if you find yourself in doubt, bite the bullet and take care of it yourself.  Companies like Car Fax thrive on finding this information and selling it to insurance agencies or making it available to prospective buyers of that automobile.  The more noise you make, the greater the paper trail that will ultimately cost you money, not save you money.