APD: "Protect yourself after a car accident" - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

APD: "Protect yourself after a car accident"

APD's Cpl. Jerry Neufeld APD's Cpl. Jerry Neufeld
Allstate Agent Clark Damon Allstate Agent Clark Damon

Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Amarillo Police Officers are being inundated with angry calls... More of them now than ever.

Callers are upset about traffic accident insurance claims for minor accidents and what you can do to protect yourself.

In 2009, there were just over 6400 traffic accidents reported on Amarillo streets. But police say hundreds more went unreported... Even if it's a fender bender, not calling could hurt you down the road when it's time to file an insurance claim.

That's when the phones start ringing.

APD's Cpl. Jerry Neufeld says, "They get pretty upset when we can't issue an accident report at that time and maybe even go issue that person a citation because we were never involved in that investigation."

If you do report it, in many cases, the on-scene officer will write up official paperwork to send to the DPS. "If there's injuries or if there's a wrecker involved and we have to tow the car." In other cases, they cannot write an official report, because state law won't allow it. "If it doesn't meet those basic criteria. We can't write a report. We can come out there and exchange information and make sure everyone has their driver's licenses."

Allstate Agent Clark Damon says, "That's a problem because when people leave the scene stories change."

If you find yourself in a situation where there is not an official report filed, insurance agents say there's one easy way to protect yourself. All it takes is using something most of us carry with us all the time... Your cell phone.

Damon says, "Take a picture of the damage to your car. Take a picture of the damage to the other car. Take a picture of that car that hit you or that you hit. Take a picture of where the cars are on the road." 

If you decide to call police for a minor accident, you need to call as soon as it happens... Once you drive away, there's nothing they can do.

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