What should I do after a Car Accident?
Use the tips below to prepare yourself to handle the stressful aftermath of an auto accident and to make the claims process work to your and your families benefit as much as possible. Remember often times this is just the beginning.
1. Is Anyone Injured?
After the car accident, immediately determine whether anyone is injured in your vehicle and if it is safe the other vehicle or vehicles as well. If someone is injured call 911 right away. Time with significant injuries often is the difference if someone recovers or passes away. Even if the incident was minor and everyone is cooperative, always call the police. That way you'll have an official report to give to your insurance company. Peoples stories will change and having that report might become invaluable. Remember everyone has a duty to mitigate their damages in an auto accident.
2. Move out of the way to a safe place
If the vehicles involved are still operational, get them to the shoulder or off the main road. If there is a parking lot or a side street move the cars there. Many times people do not move their cars and it leads to more severe injuries because someone gets hit as a pedestrian by a car passing by. At a minimum make sure to pull completely off the road to avoid being hit by approaching vehicles. If you have flares or reflective emergency triangles, consider using them to protect yourself from cars passing. If there appears to be a danger of explosion, get everyone out of the way and do not use the flares.
3. Exchange information and document the crash
State laws vary on how much information you're expected to give at the scene of an accident. Generally, you need to provide only your name and your insurance information to any other drivers involved. While you might want to hash out the details of the crash with the other driver, it's best to limit your interaction so you don't admit guilt or blame the other person and get the police involved. If the other parties do not want to get the police involved this should harden your resolve to do so.
Sometimes the police will not come if there are no injuries and if it is in a private verse public area such as a parking lot. Still, you'll want to get as much information as you can, including:
Name and insurance information of the other driver.
The other driver's telephone number, if they are willing to provide it.
Witness contact information.
Photos of any damage.
Police report number.
Police officer's name and telephone number.
Personal notes on what happened during the incident.
Draw a diagram of the scene and make notes about how the accident occurred, including the direction in which each vehicle was traveling.
4. Determine whose an what insurance coverage would apply in the accident
Next, prepare for the liability aspect of a claim. How the insurance claims process shakes out for you after a car accident depends on who was at fault and on the types of coverage you and the other driver have. Assuming the other driver was at fault, here's how the coverages would work.
Your and your passengers' expenses
Your vehicle: The other driver's property damage liability coverage will pay for repairs up to the policy's limit.
- Your medical bills: These would be covered up to the limits of the other driver's bodily injury liability coverage which is required in most states. In the 12 no-fault states, your own personal injury protection would come into play.
- Do you have a Medical Payments Provision, what is your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
- In Tennessee using your uninsured motorist coverage can not be a basis to increase tour insurance rates.
- In Tennessee we recommend putting all your medical bills on your health insurance because it will lead to getting more money in pocket because health insurance pays medical providers with contracted rates and then we submit the top dollar bills to the auto insurance companies and then we gain an advantage monetarily for our clients.
Optional coverages that can help either driver
Emergency roadside service: This comes in handy if you need a tow to the repair shop. This service is one of the benefits of AAA coverage; or Good Sam Roadside Assistance; however, it's often cheaper to get emergency roadside service from your auto insurer. The downside is that using it will count as a claim, and claims can cause your rates to go up but not with your auto coverage if you are not at fault.
Rental car coverage:
Be aware that you'll probably need collision and comprehensive coverage in order to add rental car reimbursement and emergency roadside service.
5. File a claim
Unless there is no damage or injuries you should file a claim. Those monthly premiums are exactly for this type of a situation. Insurance companies love to collect money every month from policy holders and rarely like to pay out.
Looking at our article what again is clear is that we are focusing on liability, collectability and damages
the cornerstones of what will be analyzed for a car accident injury case.