Car Accident

Studies show that up to 94% of accidents on the road involve human error. That means even the most careful driver can get caught up in tough situations. (1)

If you find yourself in one such tough spot and all factors point to you being at fault, your first instinct may be panicking. But that will only worsen the situation. Here’s a guide to what you should do instead to take care of things.

At the Scene

Here’s what to do right where the fault accident has taken place:

Check for Injuries

Assess yourself and the passengers on board for any injuries. Call 911 (or your local emergency number) if anyone needs medical attention.

Secure the Scene

If there is minimal damage to the vehicle and you can safely move it out of traffic, do so. Turn on the hazard lights to warn other drivers. But if your car is totaled or someone has been severely injured, do not move your car. Instead, use flares or reflective triangles (if you have them) to warn oncoming traffic and avoid causing more damage, such as pileup accidents.

However, it’s important to note that before moving any vehicles involved, take pictures first. This can help preserve important details related to the accident, such as the damages sustained, the positioning of the vehicles, and debris from the collision.

See also  Maximizing Compensation for Car Accident Injuries

Exchange Contact Details

Everyone safe? Scene secure? Good. Now swap contact details with the other driver(s) involved:

  • Names and phone numbers
  • Driver’s license information
  • Insurance company and policy information

If there are any witnesses, gather their names and contact information as well. Their witness statements can be helpful later on. For complex situations, consider looking for a trusted car accident lawyer in Cleveland, or wherever the accident happened. They can advise you on the next steps specific to your situation.

File a Report

Go to the police and file a report, even if the accident seems minor. The report documents the accident details, which can come in handy for insurance claims and future reference.

In some areas, the police may not attend the scene of minor accidents. So, check with your local law enforcement about their policy. If a police report isn’t filed at the scene, you may need to report the accident to your local police station or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

But whatever you do, even if it seems it’s your fault, don’t admit fault. Instead, stick to the facts and only give an objective narrative of what happened.

Car Accident Lawyer

After the Scene

Once the immediate situation at the scene is under control, here’s what you should do next:

Contact Your Insurance Company

Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours. They’ll need details about the accident, including:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • The names and contact information of everyone involved
  • A brief description of what happened (avoid assigning blame)
  • Any injuries sustained
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Your insurance company representative will guide you through the claims process and answer any questions you have.

Don’t Discuss Fault

You may feel tempted to take the blame and apologize. Or maybe the other driver can coerce you to. Don’t fall for the temptation. As mentioned, be objective when discussing what happened.

But why? Even a seemingly innocent comment can come back to haunt you when it’s misinterpreted later and used against you. Instead, consult your lawyer and allow them to handle the communication and negotiations on your behalf.

Gather Evidence

Documenting the accident scene is important for your insurance claim. Here’s what you can do:

Take Photos

As briefly mentioned, it’s crucial to take photos. If you are able, use your phone camera to capture photos of the damage to your car, the other vehicles involved, and the overall scene (including any skid marks or traffic signs).

Note Down Details

Besides writing down the names and contact information of any witnesses, take notes about the weather conditions, any injuries sustained, and a brief description of the accident from your perspective (without assigning blame).

If you have a dashcam, footage can be very helpful evidence.

Financial Repercussions

Accidents can have financial consequences. Here’s a breakdown of what you might face:

Insurance Claims

If you’re at fault, the other driver(s) will likely file a claim with your insurance company to cover their damages. This can include repairs to their vehicle, medical bills, and even lost wages if they were unable to work due to the accident.

Your insurance company will handle the communication and compensation process up to the limits of your policy. However, you may be personally liable for the remaining costs.

See also  5 Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney

Increased Insurance Rates

Unfortunately, being at fault in an accident can lead to higher insurance premiums when your policy renews. Studies show that the increase can hit highs of 45% if the accident causes property damage and 47% if it leads to injuries. (2)

Also worth noting is that the national average for drivers who’ve been in one accident is USD$2,940 per year. That’s about USD$872 higher than the national average for drivers with a squeaky-clean record. (3)

The increase can vary depending on the severity of the accident and your insurance company’s policies.

In Closing

Accidents do happen. What matters most is how you handle the aftermath. This guide has shared ways to do so when you’re at fault.

So, keep these tips in mind and involve your lawyer in complex situations. Remember, staying calm and taking the right steps can help you do well in this challenging time.

 

Sources:

  1. “The Deadly Myth That Human Error Causes Most Car Crashes”, Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/11/deadly-myth-human-error-causes-most-car-crashes/620808/
  2. “How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After An Accident?” Source: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/rate-increase-after-accident/
  3. “How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?”. Source: https://www.usnews.com/insurance/auto/car-insurance-increase-accident

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