If I Get Into a Car Accident, What Should I Do Next?
August 24, 2017
Even in a minor crash, things can go from fine to chaotic pretty quickly. Car crashes of any size are pretty jarring, so naturally the first thing you will try to do is remain calm. This is good, and maybe even necessary. However, there is such a thing as being too calm after a crash. It you crank your zen to the maximum, you will likely be missing out on crucial information that can help settle things in the long run. If you have been in a car crash, here is what to do every step of the way.
Immediately After the Crash
The very first thing you should do after a crash is make sure that everyone is okay. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away. If the accident is more serious than your standard fender bender, you will also want to call the police so they can file an accident report. However, they will not come out for minor accidents, but you can still call them if the other driver seems drunk, aggressive, or has fled the scene.
Depending on the severity, you may want to move your car out of traffic unless it is impossible, there is a number of debris that needs to be cleaned up, or it would cause more damage to move your car.
Within Hours After the Crash
While waiting for the police to show up, you should use this time to gather information for your own records. If the other driver is cooperative, it is time to get all their key information as well as giving yours. This includes your name, phone number, insurance information, license number, as well as the make and model of your car.
Afterwards, take out that camera phone, digital camera, or disposable camera and start taking pictures of the crash. This can be a few quick snaps or tons of them. Essentially, photos are proof of the visually apparent circumstances of the crash as well as the extent of the damage. This is key in case the other driver decides to claim extra damages to the car later.
After the officer has confirmed your license, insurance, and has written up the accident report, you will want to make a note of their name, badge number, and phone number so you can call on them to testify if need be. Getting the police report number may also make things easier in the future as well.
Weeks After the Accident
After the cars are towed and the injuries are treated, it is time to file your claim with the insurance company. It is as simple as calling them up and reporting your accident initially. Afterwards, you will be contacted by a claims representative to go into the finer details and the funds to repair or replace your car. However, this is only if you are at fault in the accident. If the accident was not your fault, you will need to report the accident to the other party’s insurance as well.
This is where things get messy. The other driver’s insurer likely won’t want to pay you, even if you have concrete proof. They might get fickle about coverage if you proceed with any repairs without them signing off on it first. They might deny you coverage because the story you and the other driver gave them did not match. They might even try to tell you there is not enough proof of fault so you should use your own insurance.
If you do have proof of fault, don’t let them talk you into paying higher insurance premiums just because they denied your claim. You have every right to fight it. However, you will need a skilled attorney at your side in order to do so. If you need representation, contact us today.