What To Do After A Car Accident
Getting involved in a car accident is always an unpleasant experience. Emotions usually run wild, and you may be distracted, confused, or in pain immediately after the accident. However, you can take specific steps to protect yourself and prepare for a car accident lawsuit or car insurance claim.
The first thing you have to do after getting into an accident is to remain calm. The post-accident procedure is relatively straightforward, but it can be challenging. Keeping calm will enable you to document the wreck accurately.
We will examine the steps you should follow after getting involved in an accident. Let’s dive in.
What to do after a car accident
Follow the steps below to reduce stress after a car crash and allow the potential claims process to go smoothly.
1. Check if you have any injuries and go to a safe spot
Immediately check if anyone has any injury. If that’s the case, place a call to 911 to get a police officer and an ambulance to the accident scene. An officer will talk to everyone involved in the accident and prepare a police report.
Irrespective of whether the accident was a minor one and whether the other driver cooperates, it is necessary to call the police in some states. Besides, calling the police will give you an official accident report to bring to your insurance company, which it’ll surely request.
If the motor vehicles in the accident still function, take them off the main road and switch on the hazard lights. Ensure that the vehicles are entirely taken off the road to prevent collisions with oncoming vehicles. If you have reflective emergency triangles or flares, set them on to alert other drivers. If there’s any indication of a dangerous explosion, get all the passengers away from the vehicle to safety off the road.
2. Exchange information
Typically, you’ll need to provide your name and insurance information to any drivers involved. While you may want to argue the details of the crash with other drivers, it’s best to restrict the interaction so that you don’t admit fault, heap blames on the other person, or let the other driver know the limits of your own insurance policy.
It would help if you tried to collect the following information:
- The other driver’s name and insurance information, including the insurer’s phone and policy numbers.
- The telephone number of the other driver, if they agree to provide it.
- Contact information of a witness.
- Police report number and, if possible, a copy of the police report.
- Badge number and name of the officer.
- Contact information Insurance company and policy number
- Color, type, and model of vehicle Location of accident.
- Driver’s license numbers and license plate number type
3. Document the crash
You’ll want to document the scene of the accident carefully. Below is a list of everything you should capture:
- Pictures of the damages to the vehicles involved, including the other driver’s car.
- Pictures of the other driver’s license plate.
- Date and time the accident happened.
- Personal views of what occurred, including your driving speed and road condition.
- Personal notes on what happened, including your driving speed and road conditions.
- Sketch a diagram of the scene of the car crash and how the accident occurred, including the direction in which each car traveled.
Some car insurance companies offer free smartphone applications to enable you to document the details of a car crash.
4. Decide whether to file a claim
If you were the cause of the accident, you don’t have to file for an auto insurance claim. But remember that a minor accident could be more expensive than you think.
If you didn’t cause the accident, you’d be responsible for filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Contact your own insurance provider first and start the claims process; they may file the insurance claims with the other driver’s insurer on your behalf.
Even if the accident was another driver’s fault, you might still have to use your insurance. If so, file a claim with your insurance company and get ready to pay a deductible. Your insurer will reach out to the other driver’s insurance company and refund your deductible if required.
5. Cooperate With Your Car Insurance Company
You typically have to cooperate with the investigation of your car insurance company into the accident. What does this mean? — You’ll be meant to answer all their questions and provide evidence you collected following the accident.
How insurance pays out after an accident
How the insurance claim process shakes out following a car accident depends on who was at fault and the types of coverage you and the driver involved have.
1. If another driver is at fault
Supposing you’re not a passenger in their car, the at-fault driver insurance will pay for the following:Your car damages up to its property damage liability limits. Your medical bills, up to their bodily injury liability coverage limits, are a prerequisite to legally driving in most states. Some states are seen as "no-fault" states. If you reside in one of those ‘no-fault’ states, your policy’s personal injury protection will cover your medical expenses.
Suppose the driver involved needs more coverage to pay all your bills or doesn’t have insurance. In that case, your own insurance policy’s underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage will settle it if you have it.
2. If you’re the one at fault
Your insurance will cover the following, depending on your policy:
Any injury to the other driver and any other passengers in their vehicle up to your policy’s bodily injury coverage; however, this coverage won’t pay for your passengers’ injuries.
Damage to the vehicle of the other driver, up to your passengers’ liability coverage limits:
Damages to your car if you have collision and comprehensive insurance. Your car will be covered up to its present market value after paying your deductible.
Your insurance might also cover rental car expenses for the other driver if their vehicle needs to be in the repair shop.
Optional coverage that can help both drivers
Below are some types of optimal coverage that can be useful following an accident if they are included in your policy.
Emergency roadside assistance will be resourceful if you need a tow to the mechanic shop.
Reimbursement coverage for rental cars pays for a rental while your car is getting fixed, regardless of whoever is at fault.
h2(#car-insurance-rates-can-go-up-after-a-crash.). Car insurance rates can go up after a crash.
An accident can cause a significant increase in your car insurance rates. Recent research shows that insurance rates after a crash can increase to about 51% annually on average. Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, which forestalls the progression of an at-fault accident into higher premiums.
If you are worried about your rates going up after a crash, go shopping around and compare quotes from many insurance companies to find pocket-friendly insurance.
There you have it! What to do when after a car accident. If your accident involved fatal injuries or major property damage, do not sign any document that the other driver’s attorney brings without contacting your lawyer.