If you are involved in a car accident with minor to major injuries and property damages, you need to immediately inform the police and the insurance company. First it is highly suggested to remain at the car accident scene. Fleeing can result in a hit and run case with severe penalties. If you need to seek medical attention due to injuries or fatality contact emergency right away.
Contacting the police will help to accurately record all the information from the scene and you can request for a police report. Exchanging information about the other drivers insurance and license plates will be useful to file car accident claims.
The determination of which party bears the responsibility of the accident and pay for the damages varies state by state. It depends on the type of insurance your state has. Some states have at-fault laws and others have no- fault laws for auto accident insurance claims. Few states also offer a choice between the two for the policyholder to make. Informing your insurance company and keeping all the facts from the accident clear will be crucial.
If you are not truthful your chances of getting coverage can be denied resulting in heavy out of pocket expenses. Be cautionary about admitting any fault even if the other party is insisting on it. Your job is to report the crash and most states make this a legal obligation.
What Information Do I Need After an Accident Has Occurred?
Generally, most states have their own car accident form available at the police station or the local DMV. It’s purpose is to help gather all the necessary information needed for the car accident. It would be useful to get familiar with the form and collect all that information incase of an automobile collision.
This is the following information needed to file a proper insurance claim:
- Information about what happened;
- Information about the driver, name, address and contact information and;
- Information for insurance.
Below is the important information that needs to be collected after a car accident:
- Date and time of the accident;
- Address of the accident;
- Road the car accident occurred;
- The direction of which your car was traveling in and the other car’s driver;
- Take some pictures of the accident scene for record purposes;
- Write out what exactly happened with the car collision and try to record all the possible details to make sure you have all the accurate information;
- Note the driving visibility and the weather;
- Any witnesses names and contact information and;
- Take down the contact information of the police officer that is dispatched at the accident scene.
You also need to get the information about all the passengers in the car with their contact information.
What is the Implication of At-Fault or No-Fault Laws?
Depending on the state you reside in, accident claims can be based on at-fault or no- fault laws. Your insurance claim depends on these laws and will determine the type of coverage and compensation you will receive after a car accident.
Majority of the states adhere to the at-fault systems for car collisions. In this system the insurance company pays for the damages resulting from the driver’s fault. Whoever caused the accident must pay for the damages suffered during the crash. If the insuranced driver refuses to pay for the damages you can file a separate lawsuit to cover those payments.
Other states abide by the no-fault rule, which states that the auto insurance company will compensate the policyholder for minor injuries without the consideration of whose fault it is. However, some states set a minimum threshold for damages necessary to pursue a claim. Most of these types of claims often do not require litigation. Each accident victim receives payment for their own medical insurance expenses and lost wages under the no-fault laws.
Therefore, an accident victim needs to first exhaust their own medical insurance coverage and then the auto insurance covers the remaining amount. It is important to research your local laws in your state and consult a personal injury lawyer for more assistance.
Lastly some states allow the policyholder to make a choice between the at-fault and no-fault laws. Depending on what the policyholders chooses they are to abide by those regulations in regards to their car accident injuries.
When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?
If you were in a car accident and need to file a claim for your injuries and damages. First you need to collect accurate information and contact the right individuals about the car collision. Then depending on the state you live in you need to determine what type of insurance is available to a car accident. It may be useful to seek out a personal injury lawyer to assist with ensuring your rights are not infringed.