What To Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault: We listed the next steps you should take after a car accident that’s not your fault.
There are almost 264 million registered vehicles and 218 million drivers the U.S. It’s not surprising we have so much traffic. Traffic means accidents and in 2015 there were 6.3 million of them.
If you’ve ever wondered what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault, read on. We listed the next steps you should take after a car accident that’s not your fault.
You’ve Had an Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident you must stop. It’s the law. Even if there doesn’t appear to be any damage and nobody is injured you must stop and not leave the scene of the accident.
The terms of your insurance will include an obligation on you to not admit responsibility for the accident. If you do not abide with this obligation you may invalidate your insurance. Part of the service you get from your insurance company is for them to deal with communication on matters of responsibility with the other party in an accident.
If you’ve been involved in an accident you or others may need medical attention. It is important to make sure no further accidents or injuries occur. Make sure you and others are safe and not in danger of any further harm.
First Steps at the Scene of the Accident
Check yourself and other people to determine if anybody needs urgent care. Urgent medical attention may be the priority and if it is, then get medical attention for those who need it.
Don’t move anybody who appears to have a neck or back injury or who is unconscious unless not to do so puts them in serious danger. Wait for a medical professional to arrive.
Even if there is nobody injured, call the police if there is significant damage to vehicles or property. Ask for a police report to be completed. Write down the names and numbers of the officers.
Make the scene safe by using hazard warning lights and warning signs to prevent another accident.
Write down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of other parties including the driver of the other vehicle. Also, get the name of their insurance company and their policy number.
Make notes about the make, model and year of the other vehicle. Get the vehicle identification number too and also the license plate.
Limit your discussion to getting the details you need and providing the other party with the information they need.
Get the names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident. Ask witnesses to write down a statement of what they observed as soon as possible. Witness statements and other information gathered at the time of the accident will be more credible than any information or statements collected later.
Take pictures of your car, the other car and of the whole scene. Capture road conditions, surroundings and the road position of both vehicles. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has an app that you can download to help collect the right information.
About the Accident
Make notes about the date and time of the accident. Note details of the location and well as names of roads. Note your direction of travel and the direction the other car was traveling. Make a sketch showing these details, the position on the road and any road markings.
Make notes about what happened. Include your recollection about speeds of travel, visibility, weather and anything else you can recall.
Who to Notify?
If a police officer did not attend the scene go to a police station and complete an accident report. Get a copy of this report in case your insurance company asks for it.
Notify your insurance company. Give them all the details you have collected. Even if the accident was not your fault, your insurance policy is likely to require you to notify them if you are involved in an accident.
The other driver is also required to contact their insurance company. It’s possible that if they were at fault that they fail to contact their insurance company. Some people feel anxious about this and avoid informing their insurer in the hope that the problem will just go away.
Your insurance company will contact the other driver’s insurance company and begin the process of making a claim. If you contact your insurance company while you are at the scene of the accident they can remind you of any information you need to get while there.
What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault and You Are Injured
If you are injured in a car accident you may be entitled to compensation. Deciding what to do about this can be worrying. Your insurance company may advise you but how do you know that they are looking after your interests?
This may be a good time to talk to a car accident lawyer. Many lawyers will meet with you for a first consultation without any charge. They will help you decide whether there would be any benefit in engaging a lawyer.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you are injured due to the negligence of the other driver you may be able to make a personal injury claim. They may be represented by their insurance company and of course, they will try to minimize or even avoid making any compensation payment. Their resources are much greater than yours and this is something they are well practiced at doing.
You, on the other hand, are probably not used to dealing with negligence claims or legal matters. Your expectation may be that the other driver and their insurance company will be fair and reasonable. This is not always the case.
If you are injured you may also be receiving medical treatment. Your recovery may take some time. Dealing with stressful legal matters is not easy when you are still receiving medical attention or suffering pain.
For these reasons, an attorney may be helpful.
Knowing what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault will help prevent a worse disaster from happening. You can minimize the impact. The safest of drivers can’t be sure to avoid an accident but you can be prepared to take the right actions if it does happen.
Learn more about driving and the law here.