Even though we hope that it never happens to us, the statistics show that almost all drivers will be involved in an accident at some point in their life, and it may not even be their own fault. As it can happen to even the most cautious drivers out there, the best plan is to be prepared and know what you should when it happens to you. Read on to find what to do after a car accident, if it is not your fault.
To help you out, we will share everything that you should do after a car accident, that wasn’t your fault.
How Serious was the Accident?
Before we go ahead and start, we should remember that accidents can range from minor fender-benders to the ones that result in serious injury or even death. The first thing we will do is provide you with a step-by-step guide to what you should do in minor accidents. This means we will be dealing with accidents where there are no major injuries suffered from both sides.
These are the kinds of accidents that occur most often and are the ones where you get out of your car and deal with the situation calmly. So, without further ado, here is what you should do after a car accident that’s not your fault.
1. Deal with the Situation
Even minor accidents can come as a shock to you when you’re on the road, so the first thing you should do is try and remain calm. Getting angry isn’t going to help you here, as you need to deal with the situation on hand in a rational and calm way.
If the accident was more than just a minor bump, you need to make sure that there are no serious injuries, and anyone who is seriously injured should be taken care of first. You shouldn’t leave the scene because fleeing an accident is a felony, and you should stay there, even if the other motorist drives away.
2. Call the Police
The next step is obviously getting in touch with the authorities to report the accident. In some states, you are required by law to call the police even if you were involved in a minor road accident where no one was injured, while in some states, you don’t need to call them. You need to make sure that you know the laws of the state that you’re driving in so that you can take appropriate action.
If the damage to your vehicle is more than $1,000, you should call the police, and if you’re in doubt, you should call the police anyway to be on the safe side. A police report may not be admissible as evidence in court, but it can help strengthen your insurance claim.
3. Exchange Information
You should make sure that you get complete details from the other driver when involved in an accident with them. The details you should know are the following:
- Driver’s name and address
- Their insurance company and policy details
- Their registration plate number
This will help you out later when you’re filing your insurance claim as you will have complete information about the other driver who was at fault.
4. Document the Accident
An important step that you must take after being in an accident that wasn’t your fault is documenting the entire thing. If there are any witnesses, you should take down their version of what happened and their contact details. You should also take photos of the accident, and the cars before they are moved.
However, if the accident occurs in the middle of the road and the cars need to be moved, you should take photos of the damage. Don’t forget to take photos of anything that may be important, including skid marks, the weather, the location, etc. When the police arrive on the scene, you should note the badge number of the officers taking your report.
5. Contact the Insurance Companies
If you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it is the other driver’s responsibility to contact their insurance company to inform them of the accident. However, it is likely that they don’t do that, in which case you should try to contact their insurance company as well. You should write a clear and objective letter to the insurance company explaining to them the details of what happened without making any judgments on who was to blame for the accident.
At the same time, you should also contact your own insurance company to let them know that you were in an accident, even if you don’t plan to claim them. That will show the insurance company that you are trying to be open and honest with them, and aren’t trying to hide anything.
6. Deal with Claims Issues
The best-case scenario for you would be that the other driver’s insurance company accepts that their client was the guilty party, and they pay the insurance claim. That may include damage to your car, medical bills, compensation for loss of earnings, etc. However, if there is any doubt as to who was to blame for the accident, they may reject your claim, especially if their client gives them a different version of what happened.
In this instance, you can try to claim from your own company, to ensure that your insurance company is going to fight the other company for compensation. If everything fails, you can consider hiring a car accident lawyer to fight the case for you. However, if you do this, you should weigh up the costs carefully as it may not make financial sense to pursue a lawyer.