Being in a car accident can be very scary. In most cases, the accident happens suddenly, and you don’t even see it coming. There are many people who don’t know what to do after a car accident. The more you understand about the necessary steps to take after, the better the outcome will be.
Every accident is different. Some accidents result in major damage to your vehicle and some accidents can result in injuries. Some are so minor that there is no damage and no pain involved. In some accidents, the person at fault is evident. In other cases, it can be difficult to tell who was at fault and an investigation would be necessary.
Because all accidents are different, you should have as much information as possible regarding car accidents so that you will know how to proceed in any situation.
Table of Contents
- What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
- What Happens if You Are Not at Fault in a Car Accident?
- What Details Need To Be Exchanged in a Car Accident?
- How Much Time Do You Have To Report an Accident To Your Insurance Company?
- How Much Time Do You Have To File a Personal Injury Claim After an Accident?
- Do the Police Need To Be Called After an Accident?
- Do You Have To File a Police Report To File an Insurance Claim?
- Do Insurance Rates Go Up After An Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault?
- I Caught the Crash on my Dash Cam. What Should I Do With the Video?
- The Damage To My Car is Minor. Should I Bother With a Claim?
- What To Do In An Event Of A Car Crash
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
What you need to do after a car accident depends on the circumstances surrounding the crash. If you have been seriously injured, you should remain in the car. Trying to get out of the vehicle can result in further injuries. If you are able to get out of the vehicle, you should. Once you are out, contact 911 and wait for the police and the ambulance to arrive.
If it was a minor crash, and the police are not needed on the scene, you should first get both of the vehicles out of the road. You don’t want to block traffic longer than you need to. Next, you should exchange information with the other driver. If possible, take a photo of the damage on their vehicle as well as yours. Photo evidence could possibly help you in the future.
As soon as you are able to leave the scene of the accident, you should contact your insurance company. If you have been injured and were transported to the hospital, you should contact your insurance company as soon as you are able to.
What Happens if You Are Not at Fault in a Car Accident?
If you were in a car accident that was not your fault, you should not be held responsible for the finance costs resulting in the accident. If you were injured and had to go to the hospital after the accident, there will be medical bills. If your injuries are serious enough, you would likely have to miss work, resulting in lost wages.
If your vehicle was damaged, there would be extensive repair costs. Since you did not cause the accident, these are all things that the responsible driver’s insurance company would need to cover. If you want to be sure to get the compensation that you deserve, you should hire a lawyer. There are a few things that a lawyer can do for you that you may not be able to do yourself.
A lawyer can give you a realistic assessment of your case. If you aren’t sure if you have a case or how much money you are entitled to, a lawyer can help.
Very soon after the accident, the responsible driver’s insurance company will contact you to offer you a settlement. This often occurs before you know the extent of your injuries. The amount offered is often much less than what you deserve. If you hire a lawyer, they can handle the negotiation process for you.
A personal injury lawyer will have an idea regarding how much money you are entitled to, therefore, the lawyer would not accept a low-ball offer. Also, personal injury lawyers have a great deal of experience negotiating and arguing. Your lawyer will fight to make sure that your settlement is large enough to cover all of your expenses after the accident.
If both parties could not agree on a settlement, the case would go to court for a judge and jury to decide. You would need a lawyer on your side to prepare the strongest case possible and then present it to the court.
What Details Need To Be Exchanged in a Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a minor fender bender and you do not require any medical attention and the police are not needed at the scene, you will need to exchange information with the other driver. Even if there is no damage to your car, you still need to get the information so that you can report the accident to your insurance company. Before you and the other driver leave the scene, you should exchange the following information.
Name, address, and phone number: This information is important for you or your insurance to contact the other driver. You can ask the other driver for the license because you can get their name and address there. You would need to ask for their phone number. It is a good idea to take a photo of the other driver’s license on your phone. This will give you all of the information necessary and it is much faster.
License plate number: You will need the other driver’s license plate number to identify the vehicle that was involved in the crash. This is simple to get since the other driver’s vehicle is right in front of you.
Insurance information: You will need the name and policy number of the other driver’s insurance company. This information can be found on the insurance card that they are required to carry with them. If the other driver cannot provide proof of insurance, it is best to contact the police.
Names of passengers: If there were any passengers in the other driver’s vehicle, you should get their names. These names may not be important, however, it is good to have them just in case.
If there was any damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle, you should take photos of the damage.
How Much Time Do You Have To Report an Accident To Your Insurance Company?
If you want to be covered by your insurance company after an accident, you have a specific period of time to report the accident. The time frame that you have is based on your particular insurance company. Most companies require you to file the claim within 24 hours. If you do not file within this time period, the insurance company won’t cover you or a claim made by the other driver.
Even if you were not at fault, the accident needs to be reported to your insurance company. This would leave you financially responsible. If you are seriously injured, you should ask a friend or family member to contact the insurance company for you. Most insurance companies will give you more time if you were seriously injured in the accident.
How Much Time Do You Have To File a Personal Injury Claim After an Accident?
If you have been injured in an accident and the insurance company is not offering you enough money for the injuries that you have sustained, you have much longer than the 24 hours you are given to file and insurance claim. In some states you have up to one year after the accident to file a personal injury claim, in others, you have up to two years.
If you don’t file the claim within this time, you no longer have the option. You are given additional time to file a personal injury claim because in some cases, it can take this long to recover and to know the full extent of your injuries. When the time limit is ready to expire, the responsible driver’s insurance company is required by law to let you know that the statute of limitations is about to expire and that your personal injury claim would need to be filed immediately. If you allow the statute of limitations to expire, you no longer have any legal rights.
Do the Police Need To Be Called After an Accident?
If the accident was minor and both parties agree to leave the police out of it, the proper information can be exchanged and you can go on with their day. There are certain circumstances, however, where it would be necessary to call the police.
If the cars are in the middle of the road and one or both of them cannot be moved, the police would need to be called. Not only will they need to direct traffic after the accident, they would also need to contact a tow company to get the road cleared.
If either driver or any of their passengers were injured during the accident, the police would need to be called. An officer would need to be on the scene to direct traffic and control the scene while the rescue is treating the victims.
If there is a dispute regarding who was at fault, the police would need to be called. An officer would speak to everyone in both cars and anyone who witnessed the accident. The officer would also look at the accident scene and make the necessary notes. After, a police report would be filed that would be necessary to determine which driver was actually at fault.
If either driver wants a police report to be filed, an officer would need to be on the scene to make a report.
If you are planning to file an insurance claim after the accident, you should have a police report. This would mean having an officer on the scene to file the report.
If you are leasing your vehicle or if you are financing through a lender, your lien holder will need proof of the accident, including a copy of the police report. The police would need to be on scene to file a report.
If there is glass, car parts, or any debris on the street after the accident, you should contact the police. They will get the mess cleaned up so that it won’t cause other drivers on the road to be involved in an accident as well.
If the other driver or their passengers become angry, violent, or argumentative after the accident, do not engage and contact the police immediately. Some people can become enraged after an accident. In these situations, for your own safety, contact the police.
Do You Have To File a Police Report To File an Insurance Claim?
If the damage to your vehicle exceeds the amount of money that your deductible would cost, you would need to file an insurance claim. Because you don’t have the authority to hold the other driver accountable, you should file a claim. They can promise to pay you out of pocket after an accident.
If they don’t, you would have no legal recourse and it could be too late to do anything with your insurance. If you are going to file a claim, the insurance company would require the copy of a police report. Both party’s insurance companies would require a police report to determine which driver was truly at fault. If you are involved in an accident and you think that your car was scratched or dented, you cannot be sure that the damage stops there.
There could be more damage than you think, therefore, you would need a police report to file a claim to be on the safe side. You have a legal obligation to your insurance company to investigate your claim.
You should contact your insurance company immediately after the accident to file a claim. The insurance company would need all of the information about the accident and the other driver. All of this information would be included in the police report.
Do Insurance Rates Go Up After An Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault?
Technically, your insurance rates can go up if you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault. This is especially true if you have been in several accidents and filed a claim on each of them. Because the insurance company can raise your rates after an accident, you should decide whether or not it is a good idea to file the claim.
There are certain circumstances where filing an insurance claim will hurt you rather than help you. If you have damage to your vehicle after an accident that was not your fault and you plan to collect money from the other driver’s insurance company, you will need to file a claim, even though your insurance might go up.
Unfortunately, not all drivers have insurance even though it may be required by law. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance and your vehicle is damaged, you would need to file a claim so that the damage would be covered under your uninsured motorist coverage.
If the damage was very minor and you don’t want your insurance rates to go up, you should seriously consider whether or not it would be a good idea to file a claim with the insurance company. If the accident was not your fault and it is not being disputed by the other driver, you should weigh the pros and cons regarding filing a claim and do what is best for you.
I Caught the Crash on my Dash Cam. What Should I Do With the Video?
More and more drivers today are installing the best dash cams in their vehicles to capture HD videos whilst driving. In today’s world, everything is caught on video and then used later. The same is true with a dash cam. If you were involved in an accident and the crash was caught on your dash cam, the tape could be very helpful later.
If the other driver has a different recollection of the accident than you do, having proof is important. Immediately after the accident, you should upload the video to your phone so that it is saved. You will want to have your own copy of the video. Next, let the police officer on the scene know that you have a dash cam.
If there is a difference of opinion regarding who was at fault, the officer may want to review the footage of the accident. The officer may also request the SD card for evidence, therefore, you should be willing to give it to them but not before you upload the video yourself.
There are many cheap dash cams available but you will want the highest quality dash cam for the money because poor quality might make it harder to prove your innocence.
Even if the cause of the accident is no disputed at the scene, the other driver could have a different idea regarding the accident later. The dash cam footage can be very helpful if this happens, therefore, you should ask the police to take the footage regardless of what the other driver says happened.
The Damage To My Car is Minor. Should I Bother With a Claim?
If the damage to your vehicle is less than what your deductible would cost, filing a claim could be a waste of time. The accident can cause your insurance premium to go up, you would be still be paying for the damage yourself anyway. If you have already been in several accidents, filing a claim would do more harm than good.
What To Do In An Event Of A Car Crash
There are certain things that need to be done after and accident in a certain amount of time. If you file the timeline listed below, you should have no problems and soon, you can put the accident behind you.
- Get your car off the road.
- Contact the police and rescue if necessary.
- Take a photo of the other driver’s license, proof of insurance, and their license plate.
- Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and of the damage to the other driver’s vehicle as well.
- Upload the dash cam photo if you have one.
- Seek medical attention if necessary.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim if it is in your best interest to do so.
- Contact a lawyer if necessary.
- Set up an appointment with your insurance company to estimate the damage to your vehicle.
- Have your vehicle repaired and put the whole thing behind you.
If you have any questions regarding your accident, what to do, or what to expect, the following website can be of help.
The steps that you take after you have been in an accident can greatly affect the outcome. If you follow all of the necessary steps after an accident, you should have no trouble being compensated after the accident. If you were at fault, it is equally as important to follow the proper procedure.