What To Do After A Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault

What To Do After A Car Accident That's Not Your Fault – Forbes Advisor

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and you know it was not your fault, there’s some important things to consider to protect yourself and pursue any potential compensation from the insurance companies. Let’s walk through the big things you must do and some things you must avoid to maximize your chances of getting justice and proper compensation. This is how to handle a situation with a car accident that was not your fault

Phase 1: Here’s What To Do Immediately After A Crash

The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be confusing, frustrating and may seem overwhelming. There’s a ton of emotions flowing around that can cause people to overreact or make impromptu errors that could haunt them later in the compensation process. Follow these simple steps to keep things in your favor.

Step 1: Stay Safe, Remain Calm and Stay At The Scene

Obviously, the first thing to do after an accident is to ensure the everyone involved is safe from harm. Check people for obvious injuries that could be life-threatening and call the police immediately if anyone has a serious injury. 

Once you’ve confirmed everyone is safe, take a breath. Relax and take a moment to think through everything so you can create a plan of action. This can be difficult with the surging emotions, but you should try and calm down so you can think. 

Do not leave the scene until police complete their entire report process. The police officers will inform you of when it’s OK for you to leave the crash. You need the official police report of your accident because that report becomes critical evidence later when seeking compensation and justice. 

Step 2: While Waiting For Police, Document The Scene

Make sure to collect the names, numbers and contact info of any and all people in the other vehicle. In addition, if you find any witnesses of the accident who are willing to testify on your behalf, ask them for their contact information as well. 

After getting contact information, start taking photos and videos of the scene to record what happened and how it happened. Memories fade over time, but photos and videos provide solid evidence to review later if you choose to hire a car crash lawyer.

If you have a dashboard camera in your car, take it with you! In some situations, a totaled car may never be returned to you and thus the footage from the dashboard camera could be lost forever. 

Also, check around for local security cameras on local building or even residents with Ring doorbells that could have recorded some of the accident scene. Every bit of evidence will help your case with the attorney.

Step 3: Do Not Admit Fault To The Police or Insurance Company

This is a common mistake that happens often with drivers. The not-at-fault driver might say a phrase like “oh maybe I did something wrong in this way…” or anything like that. Unfortunately, this type of statement can be used against you and can minimize the chances of recovering damages and compensation. 

Only speak about the facts of the situation and do not give your opinion. Do not explicitly say anything about fault or guilt until after you’ve spoken to an attorney. 

Step 4: Get Evaluated by Medical Professionals As Soon As Possible

After an accident, you should get a full evaluation from a medical professional, even if you feel fine. Some injuries (especially brain injuries) can have hidden symptoms and likely need professionals to uncover the issue. Plus having a medical evaluation will be important if you’ve experienced injuries and are seeking compensation from the insurance company. 

The longer you wait, the more opportunity you provide the insurance company and defense attorney to accuse you of not having serious injuries. They will make claims that you couldn’t have been seriously injured if you waited multiple days to seek medical attention.

Part 2: Should You Contact An Attorney

Many victims struggle with the concept of hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle their car accident case. A respected law firm can be a valuable ally in your pursuit of justice and compensation. 

A lawyer can help you avoid common pitfalls and help maximize any potential compensation from both insurance companies. Plus, the lawyer will become your spokesperson to the insurance companies to ensure the proper documentation, evidence and processes are followed according to the law. 

It’s unfortunate, but commonly true, that insurance companies often attempt to weasel out of paying for claims. Or at least attempt to minimize the payout the keep their profits high. 

Many insurance companies play “tricks” on unsuspecting victims in the recorded phone calls when they ask simple questions like “How are you doing today?” This is a common greeting, and a common response is something like “I’m doing good” or “I’m OK” which can actually be used against you. Phrases like this can be misconstrued and taken to mean you don’t have serious injuries that need to be compensated for by the insurance company. 

Also, avoid posting on social media until the entire claim has been finalized and paid out. Social media is a public platform and every post you make is accessible to the defense party (even if you think your account is private). Every post will be scrutinized and used against you if possible. 

Part 3: Handling Medical Expenses After The Accident

Another common question victims have is how to handle medical expenses. For most situations, you will be responsible to handle medical bills upfront. Then, if your case wins, you would be reimbursed for the medical bills.

It’s imperative that you keep detailed records of all medical bills and share them with your attorney. Every bill should be documented and have your name clearly written on the bill so it can be traced back to you. 

Some states have insurance requirements that can help, and some states do not. Check with your local attorney to discover what is allowed and what’s not in your state. 

Part 4: Investigate Additional Insurance Coverages

In addition to medical expenses, one aspect to consider is adding additional insurance coverages on your plan. Many options exist to add coverage for different circumstances. Some insurance companies offer Uninsured coverage where you get additional coverage if you were in an accident from a non-insured driver. 

Other options also exist for health insurance that can compound with your current insurance plan to maximize compensation after an accident. A good lawyer can actually provide thorough investigation for you as some insurance companies try to hide the possible coverages. 

In the end, a car accident can be a tough situation and cause a lot of trouble. But with the right approach and proper education, you can be more prepared for this challenge, especially if you were not at fault. Take the time to educate yourself on your specific insurance coverage and the laws in your state that govern the outcomes after an accident. 

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