No driver wants to be in an automobile accident. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon, and most drivers end up in a fender bender or two within their lifetime. For first-timers, it is important to know what to do after the accident occurs. Read on to see the basic steps to take as well as answers to important questions.
First off, you should get out of the vehicle if it is safe to do so and check to see if anyone is injured. Dial 911 so assistance can arrive, including police and EMS. You want to be able to make sure everyone is okay but also have police on the scene in order to file a report. It is also important to exchange information with the other vehicles involved so that a file can be claimed and the process can begin to see which party is at fault and which party is responsible for repairs and costs for medical treatment. If you are at fault, then you will pay via your insurance company and vice versa if the other driver is at fault.
My Insurance Company is Offering a Settlement, Should I Take It?
In many cases, you may have the right to further damages such as health or medical bills. For many drivers, the insurance company may try to get you to accept a quick settlement. It is not recommended you take the settlement. Claims’ representatives are in place to save the insurance company money. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney before you accept any settlement. You want to be fully compensated for the accident and fully informed as to what your potential claims may be.
What Do I Do with My Car After an Accident?
Take photos of your vehicle while on the scene (if it can be done safely) so you have a record of how the vehicle looked immediately following the accident. In most cases, your vehicle will need to be towed. Your insurance company should offer you a free tow, which entails the vehicle being taken to your local repair shop to be evaluated.
Do I Call Both My Own Insurance Company and The Other Party’s Insurance Company?
You need to call both insurance companies and notify each immediately of your potential claim(s). If a representative of the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, be polite but do not answer any questions. Have your insurer or attorney contact them in order to answer any questions or give any information needed.
How Do I Get My Car Fixed After an Accident?
This will vary based on the type of insurance you have, as well as who is at fault. In most instances, you will have your vehicle inspected by a repair shop and an estimate drawn up. Once the insurance companies know which party is at fault, then payment will be provided by the insurance company for your vehicle. This usually comes in the form of a check, which can then be presented to the repair shop.
Do I Need to Wait Until My Doctor Releases Me Before I File a Claim?
It is never a good idea to wait until you have been released by the doctor to file a claim. Start the process while you are under the doctor’s care. Once you have been released, the information will be on file to ensure the claim is completed in a comprehensive manner. Read more about how to handle medical expenses following an auto accident here.
Overall, it is important to follow the steps above and consider hiring an attorney based on the circumstances of your accident. If someone is injured, it is best to speak to an experienced attorney to know your rights and see if you have a cause of action, whether you are the one injured or if you are the party at fault.