If you’ve just been in an accident that isn’t your fault, follow these steps. Knowing what to do after an accident helps manage a stressful and scary experience. If you’re reading this as a new driver or just want to be better prepared, this post will help!
1. Receive Medical Attention
If you or a passenger has been injured in the accident, seek immediate medical care. Call for paramedics for serious injuries. In addition, you should see a doctor as some symptoms can take a few days to appear. These symptoms may include numbness, pain, dizziness, and discomfort.
It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident as the longer you wait the harder it will be to prove the injuries are from the accident.
2. Don’t Admit Fault
After property or people are injured we are naturally inclined to take responsibility and fault. However, this may be a knee jerk reaction and if you were hit by a careless driver you may ruin your claim. Instead you should get the police involved as they have training to more accurately discover which driver was at fault for the accident. Do not say “I’m Sorry” as it could be twisted into taking responsibility for the accident.
Also avoid assigning blame to the other driver for the accident. Allow the police to come and make their judgement on who’s responsible for the accident.
3. Gather Insurance & Personal Info
After an accident it’s critical to know who was driving the other vehicle and their insurance details. Make sure you know their name, address, insurance company, and policy info. Being able to call the at-fault driver’s insurance will require detailed information about the driver they insure.
4. Take Photos Of The Accident Scene
If there were other drivers who saw the accident take down their name, phone number, and address along with any statements about the incident. Get the whole scene in the photos to show the position of the vehicles, skid marks, and damage on both cars. Newer smartphones are typically capable of taking quality images for accident purposes. Get all the angles of the accident to show the conditions of the collision.
5. Talk To Witnesses Who Saw The Accident
If other drivers or pedestrians saw the accident you should get their statement about what they saw. In addition, you should collect their name and phone number for future reference. Their unbiased perspective may be the difference in proving you were not at fault for the accident.
6. Call Insurance Companies
Firstly, you should call your insurance company and report the accident. Next, use the insurance and contact information for the other driver to contact their insurance company. Both insurance companies will launch investigations to determine who’s at fault. This is independent of the police investigation of the accident and the results may or may not match.
Request the claim file with all pages and even post-it notes. The more information you have about the accident the easier it will be to support that the other driver was at-fault. Avoid being held responsible for the accident, repairs, and even higher car insurance rates. Get this immediately as these finer details aren’t always available when weeks or months have passed.
7. Seek Appropriate Medical Care
While it’s possible to get whiplash from fairly low speed accidents you should completely avoid embellishing injuries. Doing so will weaken your standing and you may receive notification that the insurance company is refusing to pay for all of your medical expenses. Keep the medical treatment reasonable to the level of injuries related to the accident.
8. Choose Your Auto Collision Repair Shop
The insurance company may have agreements with direct repair shops. These agreements typically give the insurance companies discounts on parts and labor in exchange for a stead flow of cars needing collision repair. This puts the shop in a position where they might not have your best interests in mind. Choosing your own auto collision repair shop based on word of mouth, google reviews, or your own research gives you peace of mind that the repairs are done right.
9. Rent Conservatively
If you’re going to rent a vehicle don’t go overboard. Rent a reasonable cost vehicle to keep costs reasonable. Also if your insurance company covers potential damage on rentals don’t choose to pay more for the collision damage waiver. The more conservative you are the lower the chance the insurance company can only cover a portion of the cost of a rental.
10. Hiring A Lawyer
It isn’t always necessary to hire a lawyer. Scenarios where it might be a good idea include when there are injuries and when fault must be proven to the other driver’s insurance company. Personal injury claims related to auto accidents are fiercely fought, so legal council is just a good idea.
In the case that you must prove the other driver was at fault to their insurance company a lawyer simplifies this process. They mush show the other driver disobeyed the law, that action caused the accident, and the accident caused damage to your vehicle.
You may also consider a lawyer if you’ve not received benefits from the insurance company within 30 days. This can be a sign that the insurance company is planning to bring a case against you. It can also mean you haven’t communicated sufficiently with the insurance company.
Mesa Collision Repair Service
If you’ve been in an accident our team can help repair your vehicle. Collision repair involves getting the vehicle towed, detailed inspection after an accident, working with your insurance company, and providing durable collision repairs. We’ve provided collision repair services in Mesa since 1981. Enjoy the experienced and trusted service we provide after your auto accident. Call (480) 325-5035 or Contact Us Today!