What Should I Do in the Event of an Auto Accident?

Apr 15, 2020 | Personal Insurance

Accidents are one of the most dreaded situations we never want to get involved in. It can come to both those who are prepared and those who are not; whether you are at fault or not. Although we can not really tell who exactly will get into an accident, its financial and psychological impact can still be limited in more ways than one, and this is where insurance helps. Let us look into some of the things that might happen in case of the inevitable under different circumstances.

Does your car have Insurance?

The car insurance industry calculates that you will file a claim related to a collision once every 17.9 years. Although no one wants anybody to get into an accident, it is still best to be ready at all times. When your car is insured, you will have something to ease your burden.

Not having the security of an auto insurance makes the situation even worse. The cost of every property damage crash including non-disabling injuries is at a price of more or less $7,500 according to the National Safety Council. The average price is already hefty and it can still escalate, which now will make you think twice about insuring your vehicle.

Is Car Insurance required in your state?

Auto Insurance is mandatory in all states except for New Hampshire and Virginia. But even if you happen to be living in those two states that do not require you to have auto insurance, you will still be required to pay for the damages you have caused.

On the other hand, you are in big trouble if you don’t have one and your state requires you to have auto insurance. Aside from paying for the damages, you are also at risk of having your license revoked or suspended; you will be fined, and may possibly spend some time in jail because in most states, having no insurance when driving is a misdemeanor criminal offense.

Do you live in a No-Fault or Fault state?

Only a handful of states are “no-fault” states so the majority are “fault” states, which means that the at-fault driver or his insurer will have to pay for the damages caused to the other driver, passenger, and others involved in the accident in relation to their health, life, livelihood, and property among others.

It is not common in “no-fault” states for the at-fault driver to be sued because no matter who is at fault, both parties can file a claim with their respective insurers.

At which point, you need to know what your insurance covers because in no-fault states, the required coverage usually includes just medical bills, lost income, funeral, and burial expenses, and replacement and/or repair services; property damage is typically not included.

What are the important things that I ought to do in filing for an insurance claim?

The process of filing for an auto insurance claim varies from state to state. If you are unfamiliar with how to file an insurance claim or you feel like you are not being dealt with fairly, you may reach out to your state’s Department of Insurance. An insurance claim can either be a first-party claim or a third-party claim. If you are the victim, you will most likely file a third-party claim with the other driver’s auto insurance provider. Whereas when you are the wrongdoer, you probably will have to file a first-party claim with your insurer.

On a side note, you might want to consider doing the following since they are important regardless of the state where you reside:

Call the Police

Although a police report is not imperative for all insurance companies, it will speed up things, as it will give more credibility to your claim; there are insurers who are hesitant to pay if you do not present them with a police report. Take note, however, of the location of the accident because it will help you to decide on what to do.

Private Property

Generally, accidents that happen in private property, which can be in your garage, a mall parking lot, or a driveway, are out of the police’s jurisdiction. One of the things the police will ask you when you call them is the location of the incident. They will most likely, especially in minor accidents, tell you that they would not come to make a report; in that case, you will have to document it yourself.  Even so, you may still ask them to document the incident and provide you with a report; it does not hurt to ask.

Public Property

Most of the time, if the accident happens on a public roadway, the police will come and make a report. Nevertheless, it is wise to make a documentation of your own so that you will have evidence to prove or disprove any information in the report made by the police.

Seek Legal Assistance 

Often times, insurance companies take your statement right after an accident but before you provide a statement to an insurance company, make sure that you have sought legal advice first. Your lawyer will provide you with most if not all of what you need to maximize what you can get compensated for. An attorney offers you with various services that can help you from getting compensation for your car to the repayment of your medical bills.  There are lawyers, mostly personal injury attorneys, who offer contingent fees where you will pay for the services only when you get compensated. 

Contact your Insurance Company

You may do this directly without going through an attorney first, it is absolutely your choice to do so or not. It is advisable though, to make sure all of the documents, IDs, and paperwork needed in filing a claim be on hand to avoid going back and forth with the claims department.

We’re here for you

Have you already decided to take an insurance policy to cover you and your car? If you have not thought about it yet and you simply want to know more, contact us today!

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