What Should I Do Immediately After My Car Accident?
Immediately, at the scene you should check for life threatening injuries and call an ambulance if necessary. If non-life threatening injuries, you will need to report the accident to the investigating law enforcement agency to write a report, issue any citations and exchange the necessary information.
Photograph the damages to the cars after they came to final rest from the impact before they are moved. Finally, make sure you see a doctor about any injuries or pain from the accident. You will need a lawyer to navigate the intricacies in communicating with the various insurance companies.
What Evidence Do I Need to Collect?
Upon arriving at the scene, the investigating
law enforcement agency will take the vehicle registration, driver’s license and auto insurance information of each driver.
You will receive a copy of the Driver’s Exchange of Information that sets forth the other side’s:
- Insurance company,
- Policy number,
- Vehicle year, model, make,
- Vin and license plate
- Take photos of both vehicle damages, road conditions, road signs, etc.
Do I Need to See a Doctor Even if I Don't Feel Injured?
Car accident injuries may not always be immediately apparent, especially since an event like that often leads to an excitatory or heightened state. As adrenaline and endorphins flow through your system, they temporarily mask potential discomfort.
Concussions and soft-tissue injuries are very common.
It is much better to double check as soon as you can (within 48 hours best) and let your doctor determine whether you are in the clear or have injuries that need to be monitored.
How Do I Get My Medical Bills Paid After an Auto Accident?
Your PIP or non-fault benefits pay your medical bills from your own auto insurance policy up to $10,000.
For any deductibles or amounts not paid by paid, you will look to the at-fault driver’s bodily injury policy or your own uninsured motorist coverage to provide coverage to pay the medical bills.
However, your PIP pays as the bills are submitted similar to health insurance. The at fault driver’s bodily injury coverage and your uninsured motorist coverage will only offer one payment after considering fault, causation and extent of injuries.
How Do I Pay For a Rental Car After Accident?
If you were not at fault in the accident, payment for the rental car can be paid by the at fault driver’s insurance through the property damage coverage.
However, if the damages to your car exceed the amount of the at fault driver’s property damage coverage, they will not pay for your rental car.
In that situation you will need to personally pay for your rental car if you did not pre-purchase additional insurance on your own auto insurance to provide coverage for a rental car.
Do Non-Fault Accidents Affect Insurance?
Pursuing a personal injury case if you were at fault would be challenging.
However, it can be a good idea to talk to a personal injury lawyer anyway to make sure that is the case or if there is anything there for you to claim.
Most personal Injury lawyers work on a contingency basis anyway, so it would not cost you anything to double check.
What Should I Say to the Insurance Companies?
Everything you say can be held against you, so it’s always a good idea to let your lawyer either be present during your conversation with the insurance adjusters or even handle the call for you.
Every release for every claim needs to be evaluated and there can be more than one release for an auto accident. Before signing a release, you need to fully understand if you are releasing claims for only property damage as well as bodily injury. If you sign a release for bodily injury, it is difficult to set aside the release to seek further money.
Our recommendation; don’t sign anything until you speak to your lawyer.
What Does the Process Leading Up to the Settlement Look Like?
The process can depend on several factors. Depending on how backed up the courts are, how much evidence exists, and whether or not the case is settled or goes to trial all factor into how long your personal injury lawsuit will take.
From start to finish, a case may take a year or more to settle if it goes to trial.
Consulting an attorney about the particulars of your situation should help clarify how long the process will take in your particular case.