Even if you do everything in your power to avoid a car accident, you might still be in one. Knowing what to do after a car accident can be extremely helpful. Today we’re going to help you understand by reviewing a few tips you can follow immediately after a crash, along with more long-term actions to take.
Right After the Accident
Being in a car accident is scary, even if you’re not hurt. Things are moving by so quickly, but it’s an important time and you need to stay calm.
Call the local authorities to see if the police or highway will arrive at the scene. If the police or CHP arrives, ask whether they will write an accident report. But even if they will not, you need to remember to get the other driver’s license information, phone number and insurance card. This is a crucial step in the recovery of your damages and medical bills.
Additionally, note the make and model of the other driver’s vehicle. Plus write down the names and numbers of any independent witnesses. For example, if the driver who hit you ran a red light, a witness report can corroborate your story.
Another thing you’re going to need to think about is your car. You should see if it is drivable. If not, you need to get it tow from the scene. There may be cost for the tow and storage of your vehicle. Make sure you mitigate the damages.
With your cellphone, start photographing the scene of the accident. You can never have too much documentation, so photograph the damage, the car that hit you, the intersection and area around, and other important details.
Most importantly if you have pain after the accident, go seek medical treatment. Treatment is essential in a successful recovery from your injuries. So if you’re in pain, don’t wait, get to the doctor.
Finally, you should call an experienced car attorney lawyer to talk about your potential personal injury case.
Fixing Your Car
After a car accident, you have two ways to get your car fixed. You can either go through your insurance or the other person’s insurance – there are positives and negatives to both. The bad thing is, when you file a claim with your insurance you have to pay a deductible. However the positive thing is that they typically have to work with you. Your insurance company will let you know almost immediately of your rights, like rental car and timeliness of your car getting fixed.
If you go with the other person’s insurance, there’s no deductible, but timeliness might not work on your schedule. The other driver’s insurance may need to do an investigation first to determine liability. This investigation may take a day or two or weeks depending on the complexities of the accident and number of vehicles involved. After the investigation, the other person’s insurance may not accept liability and therefore may not pay for the property damage of your vehicle.
In addition to timeliness, another drawback to using the other driver’s insurance is that they may not have enough coverage to repair or replace your vehicle.
Finally the last negative with working with the other driver’s insurance is that they will have the opportunity to ask you questions about the facts of the case and your injuries. If you are going through their insurance, limit your conversation with the insurance company to property damage only.
Another important thing to understand is you have a responsibility to mitigate your damages. Essentially this means that you must act reasonably when seeking repair or replacement of your vehicle. If you put your car into storage or if it gets taken by a tow truck and it goes to storage, you have to be reasonable and try to call an insurance company to let them know to get it moved. There are going to be stacking fees. If you don’t, even though you may not be at fault for the accident, you may have to pay those fees out of your own pocket because you weren’t reasonable in trying to mitigate your damages.
Another example is renting a car. If you continue to rent a car beyond the date your car is fixed from the body shop, you may owe those fees. In addition, when renting a car you need to understand to get a car that is similar to the one involved in the accident. It may be considered unreasonable to rent a car that is beyond yours. The other insurance may say you did not mitigate your damages and therefore you are the responsible party for those costs.
Even though there’s another person on the other side that may cause the accident, you have to understand you have to be reasonable in trying to keep those damages at an acceptable number and not take advantage of the situation. There is no certainty what is the acceptable number, however you should talk to an experienced car accident lawyer about the situation.