Whether accident was your fault or not, there are steps you should take to ensure you get the best of care. In any accident, remember to gather as much information as possible, even if it seems excessive. As one small detail can make a huge difference to your insurance company. Keep the scene as it was, and if possible, do not move your vehicle(s). After everyone involved is safe, it’s time to gather evidence and get information on all the parties. Any experienced lawyer will tell you to follow these 6 steps if you want to avoid a lengthy court battle.
Write down everything that happened
Write down the date and time, the approximate address of the accident, the road(s) you and the other party were on, as well as the nearest cross streets. Describe the direction you and the other party were traveling in, and how fast you were going. Note any other conditions such as weather, visibility, hazards, and road conditions. This is how you recreate the scene, and will help paint an accurate picture of the occurrence.
Try to keep this part of your statement as formal as possible. It can be easy to let your emotions get the best of you. But it won’t help your case if you get too excited. Write down your initial thoughts and complete the full statement once you have calmed down. This can be an incredibly stressful time filled with a lot of uncertainties. It’s important to submit a neutral statement that will not compromise your case.
Correspond properly with the other party
Exchange all personal information with the other driver. Find out their full legal name, address, insurance policy number, and contact information. Remember to get an accurate description of their car and license plate. Despite how you feel towards the other party, try to stay calm when interacting. Do not admit fault to the other party and try to keep interactions to a minimum. It’s best to let your lawyer or insurance company do all the interactions after this point. Keep record of any messages and conversations you do have.
Gather as much evidence as possible
Recreate the scene as much as possible and take as many pictures and videos as you can. Next, sketch the scene of the crash. See if you can talk to any witnesses who are willing to cooperate, and get statements from them as well. You will need to call law enforcement to inspect the scene. After the officer has assessed the scene, get their name, badge number, and contact information. Police will often take their own pictures, sketches, and statements that will be available to you within 24 hours. A copy of their report may reveal something you did not see upon the initial crash.
Be sure to speak with the police as much as possible. Their statements will only reveal damages caused by your accident and nothing more. Even though it may be intimidating interacting with police, speaking with them ensures everything is properly handled. The police report only acts as a record of the accident, it is not a claim on your insurance.
Seek medical attention and ensure anyone involved is also okay
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, be sure to speak to a healthcare professional immediately after your crash. Delaying or refusing treatment for your injuries can compromise your case. Take pictures and videos of all injuries, and get the information of the healthcare professional handling your case.
Talk With Your Insurance Company
Before you speak with your insurance company, call a personal injury lawyer. It’s especially important that you speak to a lawyer if you, or someone else is injured. How you word statements to insurance companies can make or break your case.
Even if you don’t file a claim with your insurance company, you still need to report the accident. A statement should be made to your insurance company and the police. Do not give any statements if you are medicated, tired, upset, or confused. Your lawyer can help you make your statements, or do it on your behalf if you’re unable to.
Dealing with your insurance company can be challenging and emotional. Hiring an auto accident lawyer ensures someone who’s knowledgeable on insurance claims will be on your side. This also helps you get paid all the damages you deserve.
Types of Accidents
An insurance company determines who pays damages by who’s at-fault. At-fault drivers must be more than 50% liable in order for them to be considered negligent. At-fault driver’s insurance will increase when it renews. These drivers’ insurance will pay for most of, or all the damages.
If you’re an at-fault driver, it’s important to remember insurance will only pay what your policy limits. Your state can also affect those with no-fault coverage. Be sure to check your state’s laws on at-fault drivers. Drivers not at-fault must prove the other party was negligent during the incident in order to receive compensation. The money that goes towards the no-fault driver’s compensation will come from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
With no-fault insurance, drivers will pay for their own damages. Regardless of who’s at-fault, no-fault drivers will pay with their own insurance. No-fault insurance prevents either party taking another to court. This policy only covers medical expenses, and is only available in some states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
Speak with your insurance provider to see if you have no-fault insurance available in your state, and if it’ll cover your accident.
Start the Process of Filing an Auto Accident Personal Injury claim
Accidents happen, and they don’t have to stressful as long as you follow these expert tips. The final step you’ll take is filing a personal injury claim if you do get hurt in an accident. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Contact MyCaseHelper to connect with a law firm in your state to represent you. A local attorney is usually more experienced with your auto accident situation than a lawyer from out of state.
2. Check your state and local laws regarding your situation and find out if you are required to hire an independent or third party to represent you.
3. Get copies of any documents, statements, or evidence that may be helpful to your case.
4 . Document your statement of injuries, medical bills, damages, and costs.
5. File your claim with your local personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to minimize delays and costs.
6. Be sure to include all pertinent documents when filing your claim with the court.
It can be frustrating and emotional dealing with insurance companies, especially if there are significant damages and injuries involved. Having one of our Premier Partners on your side to help handle your accident will ensure you receive everything you should be compensated for.