It can happen to anyone at any time: As you commute to work, your other hand is wrapped around a cup of hot coffee while you listen to the music. You suddenly hear the steel crunch as your neck is violently jerked back and forth. You have been rear-ended by the driver in front of you, possibly while they were checking a text or playing with the radio dial. This is not your fault. However, you now have another task on your busy schedule. What can you do?
Car accidents can be very unpleasant. However, the following information will help you to achieve the best outcome.
How to Respond After a Car Accident If It’s Not Your Fault The First Steps
You can take many of the same steps after a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. There are things you can do in order to protect your rights in the event that the other party fails to report the accident or contradicts your account, or is not cooperative.
- Right away after the accident
Take a deep, calm breath and take a deep one. Get immediate medical attention if you are hurt. Keep a record of your injuries, if possible. You should check on any passengers or drivers involved in an accident. If you are injured, get immediate medical attention. However, don’t move anyone unless they’re absolutely required for safety. You don’t want to create a traffic jam or cause another collision.
- Collect Information
If the other driver is at fault for the accident, like the rear-end collision shown above, they must report it to their insurance company. Don’t assume that the other driver will take care. A felony is when you leave the scene of an accident. But only if evidence exists. This is why you should collect the following information.
- Name, address and telephone number for the other driver
- Name of the insurance company and policy number for the other driver
- Witness statements and contact information for witnesses (if applicable).
- Photographs of the scene, including the license plate of another driver and the location of the damage
- You might consider calling the police
Even if you aren’t sure if you contributed to the accident or not, the following information could help you prove your case. You should call the police if there are any serious injuries to you, the other driver or passengers, and if the accident has caused significant damage. A police report is not admissible in civil courts, but it can give you leverage when you present your version of events and reach a settlement.
How to get home after a car accident
If you aren’t suffering from serious injuries, it is important to complete some extra steps once you return home. Keep detailed and ongoing notes if you sustain injuries in the accident. The other driver will most likely report the accident to their insurance company. They will then write you a check covering your automobile damages and any medical expenses.
Get in touch with your insurance company
Car accidents can happen in a flash, so you may not be able to see the entire sequence of events that led to them. You might have been partially responsible for the collision, but that doesn’t mean you are entirely at fault. There may also be situations where the insurance company of another motorist denies liability. Your insurance company will need information in either of these cases to file a lawsuit against the other insurer, or to file a collision claim on your vehicle. You can make a good faith effort to report the accident by calling your insurance company immediately, regardless of fault.
You might consider suing the other driver’s insurance company
Most of the time, your insurance company will cover the damage you’ve caused. Sometimes, however, and especially if there is no police report, the insurance company may deny coverage. Your insurer could either pay the damages, sue the other company or attempt to negotiate a fair settlement for all. You always have the option to hire a lawyer and sue the other party’s insurance company as a last resort.
Keep in mind that there might not be enough evidence or the cost of legal fees may not justify the expense. Before you take any further legal action, weigh all the pros and cons.
Get an attorney to evaluate your car accident claim
You may be unsure what to do following a car accident that wasn’t your fault. If the situation is not easily resolved, an attorney can help you determine what to do next. Contact an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer in your area today to get started.