Know what to do after an accident that is not your fault can save you from expensive compensations and legal issues. Dealing with your insurer is already stressful enough. But now, you have to contact the at-fault driver’s insurer, and you don’t know where to start. This article will provide you with guidelines on what to do after the accident.
The First Steps to Take When You Are in a No-Fault Accident
After getting involved in a car accident, there are certain steps you must take to protect your interests in case the at-fault driver does not report the accident or makes a false statement about how the accident occurred.
What to Do Immediately After the Crash
First, try your best to stay calm. Then, check that you are alright and get medical treatment if you are not. You’ll need to place a call to an emergency medical center to attend to the injured victims. Don’t move an injured person unless the situation necessitates it. Move all involved vehicles to one side of the road to avoid obstructing traffic or other car crashes.
Collect Information on the Accident Scene
If the crash was clearly the fault of another driver, that driver must report the incident. But don’t trust them to make the report. You may only be able to prove that the accident happened with evidence. That’s why you should gather information before leaving the scene.
The following information may serve as proof of the accident, says insure.com:
- Name, address, and driver’s license number of the driver at fault
- The name of the at-fault driver’s insurance company and their insurance policy number
- Name, phone numbers, and addresses of witnesses and their statements about the incident
- Pictures of the accident scene, showing the site of the damage and the at-fault driver’s license number
Call the Police
If it is unclear which driver caused the accident, you can collect some evidence to help your case, according to FindLaw. Making a police report will also serve as leverage when stating how the accident happened or reaching a settlement with the at-fault driver.
Record the Event in Writing at Home
If you don’t have any serious injuries, you may be able to go home immediately after the accident. Write the essential details of the accident in a note to help you remember the event clearly.
Inform Your Auto Insurance Company About the Accident
Enjuris recommends calling your insurer immediately after an accident. Because most accidents happen in a matter of seconds, you might not know the full details of the event. You may also be partially responsible for the accident. In addition, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may fail to cover the treatment of victims and the bills for the property damage that occurred during the accident.
If the other driver’s insurer denies responsibility for the accident, you’ll need your insurer to contest the treatment and property damage expenses with the other driver’s insurer. If you are partially at fault, your auto insurer may have to cover collision claims for vehicle repair costs.
You May Choose to Sue the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer
Usually, the at-fault driver’s insurer covers any repair, replacement, and treatment bills for any damages or injuries that occurred during the crash. But some insurers may deny the responsibility of their policyholder in the accident and refuse to pay for damage expenses.
When this happens, FindLaw says your auto insurer can choose to cover the financial losses of the accident victims, sue the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or reach a settlement with them. Still, it won’t hurt if you hire a lawyer to sue the other driver’s insurer on your behalf. If the repair and medical costs of the damages incurred are less than the cost of hiring a lawyer, you don’t have to contest the matter legally. Always weigh your options clearly before deciding about your accident compensation.
Seek the Help of an Insurance Attorney to Assess the Claim
If you are unsure about the next step to take after comparing your options, you can ask an expert car accident attorney to guide you, according to Enjuris.
What to Do If You Become Injured in a No-Fault Accident
If you sustain severe injuries in a no-fault accident, you can demand compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurer. Please take note that their policy may be less than your total medical expenses. If the at-fault driver’s coverage cannot cover all your medical bills, you can use your uninsured driver’s coverage to take care of the expenses, according to Allen, Allen, Allen, & Allen.
Accident victims in no-fault states can use Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to cover the remainder of their medical bills.
What to Do If You Lose Your Vehicle in a No-Fault Accident
If a driver ruins your car in a no-fault accident, they’ll have to pay you the cost of the car in cash. In this situation, the actual price of your vehicle is the amount it would have cost if it were totaled. According to insure.com, insurers calculate the cost of a car in the format: replacement cost minus depreciation cost.
The replacement cost is the price for buying a similar model of the damaged car. Depreciation cost is the cost by which your vehicle has depreciated over the years. Also, the at-fault driver must cover the sales tax on your replacement car.
Who Is Responsible for Paying My Deductible in a No-Fault Accident?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying your deductible in a no-fault accident. However, it often takes a long period to process such claims. If you want to get your car back on the road in no time, you may have to pay your deductible yourself, says American Family Insurance.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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