When you’re in a car or trucking accident in Hollywood or anywhere in South Florida, you may have a lot of worries. You may worry how you’ll pay for repairs, whether your insurance rates will go up, and whether your injuries will be serious. One thing you may not be worried about is identity theft or fraud. However, these are also issues you should consider.
Unfortunately, a small number of people target individuals who have been involved in traffic accidents. In some cases, fraudsters will stage a minor accident and gather information at the scene of the accident in order to steal someone’s identity. In other cases, fraudsters will take advantage of drivers who have been an accident by overcharging for basic services or by defrauding them in other ways.
There are a few ways to keep yourself a little safer:
1) Never give out more information than you need to.
In a minor car accident, you need to only exchange car license numbers, names, and insurance information – no need for contact information. In more serious accidents, you may need to swap names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, phone numbers, and insurance information. Contact your insurance company to find out what information you need to exchange in a minor or a more serious accident to understand what information your should give – and what you shouldn’t offer.
2) Stay alert if someone wants lots of information.
No one needs to know your Social Insurance Number and no one needs to take a photo of your license plates. If someone wants more information than you feel comfortable giving, advise them to contact your insurance company for the information. Any information they need as part of their claim can come from the insurance company.
3) Report the accident to your car insurance company and police immediately.
Calling the police will usually stop fraudsters in their tracks. If at the scene of the accident a fraudster wants to get identifying information from you for the purposes of identity theft, the presence of a police officer will usually stop the attempt. When you report the accident to police and your insurance carrier fast, the fraudster may not get the chance to pose as you or to accuse you of wrongdoing.
4) Keep an eye on your accounts and order your credit reports a few weeks after the accident.
You should be checking your credit reports and bank accounts every few months, anyway. Keep an extra eye on them after a car or truck accident to ensure you haven’t been targeted by identity thieves.
5) Contact police if you suspect something is wrong.
If you see suspicious activity on your account or if you notice something else seems to be amiss, contact police. Let them investigate.
6) Ask lots of questions from anyone you need to work with.
For example, if you meet with a mechanic, ask about a part of the car you know is in good shape. This can help you gauge pricing. If you meet with an attorney, find out what professional organizations they belong to. Make sure the people you will be working with are trustworthy and will treat you fairly.
7) Keep track of everyone you speak to.
You might not remember names easily, especially since you’ll probably be talking to several people after your trucking accident about your claim, car, and health. If you ever need to make a claim or if you need to address a fraud issue, knowing who you spoke with is important. Whether you’re calling a company or talking to an individual, get the correct spelling of the name of each person you speak with as well as the company they work for and the phone number. Keep this information in a notebook – along with the dates and content of all communication — or on your phone or in a notebook so you can easily access the information.
8) Don’t sign anything until you talk to an attorney.
After a truck accident, the trucking company involved may contact you and may want you to sign papers. The insurance company may also want you to sign papers. Keep in mind that anything you sign will be legally binding – even if you don’t understand every clause. Make sure you understand everything you’re going to sign by having an attorney look over the paperwork – before you sign. An attorney can tell you whether you are getting a fair settlement can help you get the best settlement possible for your injuries.
If you like to speak to a truck accident attorney in Hollywood or anywhere in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our attorneys have more than six decades of combined experience and our friendly and professional staff would be pleased to offer legal advice and assessment.