If you have been in an accident, what is the first step should you take? First, ensure everyone is okay, including the other driver. If somebody has been hurt, call 911, photograph the vehicle(s) involved and the accident scene and then call your insurance company immediately. Also don’t forget to obtain the contacts of the other driver and his vehicle number plate.
Other critical information you should obtain include the name and contacts of the other vehicle’s insurance company, any witnesses to the scene, or law enforcement agents who assessed the scene. Remember that an insurance company exists to make a profit, and does that by paying out a few or insufficient claims. It try to blame you fully or partially for the accident or claim that you didn’t provide enough documentation to justify your claims. In order to be reimbursed fairly, you need to gather as much information as possible about the accident.
Questions You May Be Asked
The first question you will be asked is where have you parked your car. The insurance company simply wants to know this so as to stop further storage charges from accruing at a tow shop. If it is at a tow shop, they will need to you release the vehicle, which is then moved to the body shop of their own choice. If the car is parked at a tow yard, release it to your insurer. Don’t try to fight the insurance company at this stage.
The second question is what is the location of your car and whether it is damaged. Basically, this helps them know which part of the car was damaged. You can tell them using general terms such as “back”, “front” or “driver’s side”. Don’t hesitate to tell them all facts even if your car is extensively damaged.
The third question is what conspired during the accident. In this case, don’t allow them to record your statement if they ask for it. There is no clause in your insurance coverage that requires you to provide a recorded statement. Just answer any questions asked but avoid giving them recorded statements. If you are still in shock after the accident, let them know that and ask for a day or two to cool down before talking to them.
Finally, your insurer may ask you if anybody got hurt in the accident. You are entitled to be compensated for any medical costs arising from injuries sustained during the accident. You should also tell them if anybody else was injured.
Fixing Your Car
Your insurance company will naturally recommend a body shop that they have a business relationship with. However, you are still at liberty to choose any body shop that you like. The best course of action is to obtain recommendations from your friends, family members or any reliable person on which shop is the best. Once you decide where you want to have your car repaired, tell your insurer about that so that the adjuster will negotiate the repair price with the body shop. The insurer will pay the fees, so pay anything other than your insurance deductible.
Getting Compensated for Medical Costs
If you got hurt in the accident, your insurance provider should compensate you reasonably, including for lost wages and mental and physical suffering that you endured. Always remember there is a time limit –usually two years–within which you should file a compensation for medical costs incurred. If this period elapses, your only option is to file a lawsuit.
However, within the context of insurance, it is good to know that if you didn’t cause the accident, the bodily injury liability coverage of the other driver should meet your medical costs. However, if you reside in a state considered no-fault, you must use your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for this purpose.
There are other medical coverages suitable for paying your medical expenses. They include underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, which compensates you for injuries caused in an accident involving another driver with insufficient or no insurance to meet your medical costs. The other one is the medical payments coverage, which covers funeral costs, pedestrian injuries, dental care, or compensating passengers injured while travelling in your vehicle.