When you get into an accident caused by someone else, it can be a very stressful time. You are dealing with medical bills, car repair costs, and the emotional distress that comes from being in a car accident. If this is your first time getting into an accident due to another person’s carelessness, here are some steps you need to take.
Call the Police
If you are in an accident, the first thing to do is call 911. This will ensure that police come out and file a report about what happened. The police will prioritize your case if they believe there was some fault on behalf of another person or company- which can have positive effects down the line when it comes time for insurance claims.
It is also important that you get the police report filed as soon as possible. This document will have important information about what happened and can be used for future claims that you file with the other party’s insurance company or your own if applicable. If a police report is not filed, all of this evidence could go to waste when it comes time to make a claim.
Exchange Information With the Other Driver
After you have called the police, it is time to exchange information with the other driver. You will need their name, license plate number, and insurance information to make an informed decision about what your next steps are going to be after this accident happens. If possible, try not to argue or get into a fight with them- that can be a good way to escalate the situation and put you in more danger.
If possible, try to get pictures of any visible damage on their vehicle and take down some notes about what they say happened during the accident or how they reacted after it occurred- this can be used as evidence later if necessary. Try not to let them leave until the police have arrived.
Get Medical Attention Immediately
The first thing you need to do is get medical attention. You never know how severe your injuries are or whether there might be internal bleeding that requires surgery later. Even if the accident did not cause any major visible injuries, it’s best to take precautionary measures and receive treatment immediately. Once you have received proper care for your current condition(s), it’s time to start looking for legal counsel.
Getting medical attention also enables you to keep an accurate record of your injuries. If necessary, you will need to have proof that you did indeed receive medical treatment for the injuries you sustained in the accident.
You should also contact your car insurance company at this time so they can send out a representative who will be able to take down all relevant information regarding what happened and their ability (or inability) to pay for the damages.
Get a Copy of Your Repair Estimate or File a Claim
If you are involved in an accident with another person, it is important to get proof of the damage. You could do this by getting a copy of your repair estimate or filing a claim if there were no personal injuries during the collision. However, you need to note that there are limitations to this. Getting legal advice for the California statute of limitations in your car accident claim will tell you how and when you should file your claim to avoid it being dismissed. Not following the set rules will only hurt you in the long run if it means that your claim is thrown out because of a technicality.
Filing a claim for the accident may also come with some benefits and consequences that you should know before doing this. Some insurance policies do not cover damage due to accidents caused by other people- so filing your own claim might help encourage them to pay more attention in these cases rather than just dismissing it as an “act of God” or a random accident.
Contact Your Auto Insurance Company to File a Claim as Soon as Possible
You should contact your insurance company to file a claim with them about the accident as soon as possible. You will need all of this information in hand, including the police report number and any notes taken at the scene immediately after it occurred. Your auto insurance provider may ask for some time before filing a claim depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident- so waiting too long to do this could cost you.
If your insurance company finds that there was some fault on behalf of another driver, they may be willing to pay out for all or part of what you are owed back from them for damage caused by the accident. However, if it is found that no one else was at fault for the accident, you may have to pay all of this back yourself.
Get a Lawyer to Help You with the Claim As Soon as Possible
In some cases, it might be a good idea to get legal representation when you are filing your claim with the insurance company or in court. Having someone else on your side is beneficial because they know what needs to be done and can help make things easier for you during this process. A lawyer will also know more about personal injury claims than most people and can help you with your case.
The earlier they are contacted about this, the better their chances of getting involved in the process will be before it is too late for them to do anything- so contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Having a car accident with someone else is never an enjoyable experience. However, that does not mean that you have to accept what happened and move on from it- especially if the other person was at fault for this collision occurring in the first place. By following these tips listed above, you can make sure that things go as smoothly as possible when filing your claim and getting everything handled.