No one wants to be involved in an accident. It can happen out of nowhere, getting rear-ended from behind during your commute to work or home. But accidents can happen anytime and they’re never pleasant. When you do get into an accident, you might be confused, scared and unsure as to what to do, so here’s a guide on what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault!
Knowing what to do in a crash that’s not your fault will help you remain calm as you go through the necessary steps to gather the necessary information.
Never Flee an Accident
No matter who is at fault for the accident, it’s always important that you never feel the scene. The drivers must remain at the scene and exchange the necessary information and wait until the police arrive. Move the accident to the side of the road it happened in traffic. If not, all drivers should remain in the vehicles with their hazard lights on until the police arrive on the scene.
Call the Police
Regardless if it was a small fender bender or a serious auto accent, you’ll want to call 911. Having a police officer come and fill out an official report will help speed the process when it comes to your insurance claim. You’ll want to stay at the scene of the accident and talk to the police to bolster your case when the accident wasn’t your fault. Some states don’t require you to call the police if it’s simply a small dent or scratch, while other states do.
It’s better to be safe and have them come out, especially if you think estimated damages are going to be more than $1,000 or if there are injuries, then definitely call 911 to get a police officer out to the scene. If the police don’t respond to your call, you’ll still want to file an accident report at the Department of Motor Vehicles (which you can do online), so that there’s evidence of a paper trail.
Exchange necessary information
As you wait for the police to show up, you’ll want to get the at-fault driver’s insurance information. This will be important for your own insurance claim, which you will still need to file. However, your insurance company will, in turn, be reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance, which is why you’ll need to get this information at the scene of the accident. No matter if the auto accident was minor or big, you’ll still need to get the following information:
- Full name, address, and number where they could be reached
- Their car insurance contact
- What their policy number is
- Their driver’s license, plate number, and the vehicle’s VIN number.
All this information will help streamline your own insurance claim and help your car accident lawyer if you decide to get one after the incident.
Interview Any Witnesses
Don’t let any witnesses to the accident just pass by the scene. You’ll want to get their point of view for your insurance so make sure you also ask for their contact information. Besides their name and number, get their immediate thoughts on the accident, which can help support your case since the incident wasn’t your fault. Also, take note of any badge numbers for the officers that arrive on the scene.
No matter what, you always want to photograph the scene of the car accident to convince your insurance that it wasn’t your fault. Take both photos and videos of all the cars involved, the weather, the location, the accident scene, license plates and whatever else you believe is relevant to your case. Package it all and send it over to your insurance adjuster when assigned one.
Call Your Insurance
Even though the accident wasn’t your fault, you’ll still need to contact your auto insurance company to file a claim. But before you do, review your policy so that you understand what’s covered and what isn’t. You’ll be able to work with an adjuster to ensure that the other driver’s insurance is coordinating with yours to streamline the entire process. In most cases, your insurance premiums won’t go up, especially if the insurer agrees that the other driver was at fault for the accident. If you’re found not to be at fault for the incident, you’ll get a payout for the repairs and get paid back for any medical bills.
Once you report the accident, a claims adjuster will review the details of the accident and look at the damage, your medical records, police accounts and more. Once they’ve acquired the necessary information, you might get a settlement offer. Usually, it’s low and it’s best if you don’t accept the first offer.
Contact A Car Accident Attorney
If you were not a fault in an accident, you should not have to pay for any damages or injuries you’ve sustained because of someone else’s mistake. You’ll want to contact an auto accident lawyer to talk about your options and can help you recover any and all loses you might have.
A car accident attorney will be able to advise on you what type of settlement you should agree to or negotiate for you to get a fair amount. If an amount can’t be reached, you’ll need them to represent you in court in order to have the case resolved.
If you know what to do when you’re in an accident, the better the outcome will be, especially if you weren’t the one that caused the incident.