Traffic accidents are all too common in the US, and they can have a significant impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as your financial standing.
To guard against crippling financial burdens after an accident, you should be protected by auto insurance. However, there are certain steps you need to take right after your traffic mishap in order to avoid any complications with your insurance claim later on. In this article, we share some basic tips you can act on should you ever find yourself in a car accident.
How To Properly Document Your Car Accident
It’s understandable for you to feel confused or even panicked right after a car crash. So, before anything else, keep in mind that the most important thing is to ensure that all parties involved in the collision are safe. Get a hold of emergency services immediately after the car accident.
Once you are sure that all parties involved in the crash are safe, then it’s time to record details of your accident and take pictures of the collision. Here are some details to guide you on how to go about documenting the accident:
• Get photographic evidence – Taking pictures is the easiest way of getting a record of your traffic accident. It’s important to get a photo of the car crash from different angles. You should take wide shots that show all the cars involved in the accident in their entirety. Useful photos are those showing the extent of damage to each car. You can also take close up shots of any dents, scratches, or deformities caused by the collision.
• Talk to your police officers – For every accident, police officers should be present to help get emergency services on the scene and to create an accident report. Be cooperative and provide information as best and as calmly as you can. Make sure to ask your police officers for their names and details on how to get a copy of the accident report for your insurance claim.
• Exchange information with the other drivers – It’s important to remain calm and composed when talking to the other parties involved in the car crash. Emotions may be heightened at this time, which can get in the way of a productive discussion. If needed, ask your police officers if they can mediate.
The important thing is to get the other parties’ names, their address and contact information, and any information they can readily offer regarding their insurance coverage. If possible, it would also be good if you can come to an agreement on how to follow-up with them should you need more information down the line.
• Take down details from witnesses – If any bystanders were witness to the car accident, ask if you can take down their names and contact details. You may need to ask them to provide a statement down the track.
Get In Touch With Your Insurance Company
It’s important to contact your insurance provider as soon as you’re able. A good rule of thumb is to touch base with them no later than 24 hours after the car accident.
Informing your insurance company in a timely manner is crucial to filing a successful claim. You should be warned that some insurers have stipulations regarding how much time you’re given to inform them of any accident. These details may be found in your insurance policy, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with the fine print earlier on when you’re in the process of purchasing the policy.
You could also be affected by ‘no-fault’ and ‘fault’ rules. If you require any medical treatment after your accident and you live in a state with ‘no-fault’ rules, your insurers are required to cover your medical expenses in accordance with your coverage. If your medical expenses go beyond your coverage, you may need to file a lawsuit to sue for compensation.
In ‘fault’ states, you also have the option to sue the other driver for compensation. If the other party is uninsured or underinsured, there is a risk of them not being able to pay for your medical expenses. In such cases, you need to check if your insurance policy covers expenses arising from accidents with uninsured drivers.
Consult With A Car Accident Lawyer
Sing for compensation can be a complicated and stressful process. You would need to collect as much information and documentation as you can. In order to get your best chance for a reasonable compensation, it would be good to hire a professional legal counsel to handle your case.
An experienced lawyer can make the whole process easier and less stressful. They can gather documentation and present your case on your behalf so that you can focus on your own recovery.