No one wants to get into a car accident. Sometimes they just happen. Being in one can be very devastating for all parties involved since it’s a very stressful situation. But being the at-fault is even more stressful since you have to worry about the damage done to your car and that of the other driver involved in the car accident.
While no one plans on being in an accident, you should know what to do if you’re in one and it’s your fault. This way, you’ll be able to clearly document everything so that you can provide your insurance company with correct and proper information as it pertains to the car accident. Doing so will help make the entire process smoother and less stressful, especially when you’re the one that caused it.
Steps to Take If You’re at Fault for The Accident
Being at fault in a car accident can cause you to stress out more, making you anxious about what happens next. In order to stay cool, calm and collected in such a stressful situation, here are a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure everything is done properly for your car insurance company.
- Stop: As soon as you hit someone, you’ll want to move to the side and stop. This way, you and check to see if anyone is hurt and access the damage to your vehicle and the car of the person you hit. If you do find that there are serious injuries, you’ll want to call 911 immediately.
- Call the police: Once you’ve accessed the damage and no one is hurt, you should still call the police so that you can report the accident, and have it documented for insurance purposes. Even if your state doesn’t require you to call the police, you should still call them to see if they’ll want to come out. The official report will be very useful to your insurance claims adjuster.
- Gather all the necessary information: You’ll want to exchange all necessary information with the other driver(s) involved in the car accident that you caused. Needed information includes the name, numbers, insurance carrier/agency and their policy number. Note the time of the accident, where it happened and take notes of what caused the accident. Be as detailed as possible.
Talk to any witnesses involved at the scene and get their information, too. You’ll also need to take as many photos of the car accident scene as possible. This includes pictures of your car and its damage, as well as the other cars involved in the accident. This will help just in case the other driver tries to change the narrative later on.
- Report the car accident to your insurance company: Once you have all the facts, you’ll then need to report it all to your insurance company. Send them over everything you have, including the police report, pictures and all the notes on the car accident you have.
When you’re at fault in an accident, you want to make sure you’re polite. Don’t be aggressive and stay calm and even-toned so that you get all the information needed to file your claim. And before you make any official statements to anyone, you might want to call a lawyer that specializes in car accidents and injuries.
What Happens Next?
Since you were at fault for the car accident, you might be anxious about what happens after you file a claim to your insurance company. The majority of states are “fault” states, meaning you’ll be financially responsible for the accident and the other driver’s vehicle and medical bills.
Your insurance will be responsible for the damage and anything else, including lost wages due to the inability to go to work because of a wrecked car or medical issues, pain and suffering, medical bills and more.
Those that live in “no-fault” states have insurance laws that are written in such a way that requires drivers to have “personal injury protection” coverage in addition to their regular car insurance policy.
This type of coverage will then kick in after the car accident happens. It will pay for any economic loses suffered by the policyholder and other covered by it, regardless of whose fault it is the accident happened in the first place.
However, no-fault car insurance never applies to any damage to the vehicle no matter where you live. This means financial responsibility for any damages will come down to the type of car insurance coverage a driver as and what the claim preference is of those involved in the car accident.
When you’re the person that caused the accident, the other driver will still submit their own claim to their insurance company. However, their insurer will then circle back to your insurance for reimbursement. This will cause your insurance premiums to rise. This is especially true if you had any points added to your driving record as a result.
The biggest risk you have as an at-fault driver is having a personal injury lawsuit brought against you by someone else injured in the accident. You can purchase as much liability coverage needed to protect you against a lawsuit, but many don’t have enough coverage to pay out a severe injury claim (one that ends in death). Because of this, you might want to buy higher amounts of coverage from your insurance to better protect you in case this happens.