How to Report a Car Accident
Being in a car accident is a terrible thing! Even when there are no fatalities, there is always some damage to the car. Dealing with the bureaucratic background is another issue involving: complaints, insurance, and other necessary details to resolve the situation.
When you find yourself in a car accident you should, if you are able to, obtain the personal information and insurance information of the other driver including:
-Driver’s full name and personal information
-Name of the Car Owner (If it is not the driver)
-Year, brand and model of vehicle (s) involved
-Names and addresses of all witnesses who saw the accident
If it is the other driver’s fault and not yours, contact your insurer to report the accident. In many cases, you can resolve the issue through the insurance company. But there are situations where you may need to analyze the possibility of hiring a lawyer to help you handle the claim.
The first and most evident damage is the car. This is commonly known as “property damages.” In some cases, the car is considered a total loss. If it is recoverable, you need to determine who will pay for the repairs. You also need to determine which coverage applies: Yours or the other driver involved in the accident. If it is your fault, the refund policy will be adjusted to your coverage terms. If it is the fault of the other driver, their insurer should cover the expenses. In some cases, you can file a claim to your insurance company to cover the expenses.
A lawyer gets into play when we do not understand the situation or prefer another moderator to help us. It is possible that the initial offer will not cover the real expenses we may have. This is why it is important to wait. Do not accept any upfront offers! It is preferable to wait and get legal counsel to determine your rights. Do not accept checks or a payout before a complete evaluation of all damages, whether property oriented or personal!
Lawyers also have experience in damages compensation claims and general damages. For example, pain, mental anguish or difficult to determine situations.
When you talk to the insurer, you should have all details on hand. Always be clear, friendly but firm. I know it is a difficult time with high physical and emotional stress! However, you need to come to an agreement and understand the issues.
Some common terms that insurers may use when talking with you is:
Subrogation clause: Subrogation is defined as a legal right that allows a party (For example: The insurance company) to make a payment for a third party. Then this payment is recovered from the third party owing the debt after the fact.
Subrogation is one of the ways the insurance companies recover the money paid in the claims process of insured drivers. This tends to be the last part of the claims process and occurs within insurance companies.
Generally, your insurance policy will require your cooperation to pursue the subrogation process. This means, for example, you cannot sign a waiver or any agreements to liberate the other driver from their liability in the accident, when they are at fault.
Negligence: Is defined as the inability to exercise a degree of care expected of a prudent individual in similar circumstances to protect others, based on foreseeable and reasonable damages.
Comparative Negligence: Is used to indicate the degree of blame applicable to each individual in the accident. If you have a state of comparative negligence, the insurance company will investigate the accident to determine how each individual contributed to the accident. This applies when a driver is pursuing a claim against another.
If the accident resulted in an injury, wait for your doctor’s visit before giving an incorrect diagnosis. For example, do not tell your insurance company “I broke my arm,” when your injury may be lesser or vice versa. Be honest! Confirm if any injuries are present and wait for a proper diagnosis. To accomplish this, get medical attention immediately to detail any injuries caused by the accident.
Payment for medical attention will depend on the type of coverage provided by your insurance company. Keep all paperwork and receipts saved. If you continue to have issues to pay your medical bills, ask a personal injury lawyer for legal advice.
Be precise and clear with the details of the accident. Sometimes we tend to give unnecessary details that could act against us. Any comment, however innocent it might seem, can make us appear distracted and cause us to be responsible for the accident in some way. Just respond to whatever direct questions you are asked, and if you do not know the answer, tell them you cannot respond at the moment because you do not have the pertinent details.
Do not agree to a taped statement. You are not obligated to do that! And it can be used against you as a written statement of the accident. If you say something incorrectly or a statement that hurts you, you will leave concrete proof behind. You should also wait for the medical examination results before your injury is closed. At this time, you cannot know the magnitude of your injuries or the consequences which can occur later. Always, and in the face of doubts, ask your lawyer!
Remember: You have a short period of time under local, state and federal laws to file a claim and assert your rights. This limited time is called a “statute of limitations,” and varies by state.