Nobody wants to be faced with the fallout from a car accident. Yet, whenever we assume the privileges that come with a driver’s license, we also take on the possibility of a wreck out on the road.
Still, in the midst of the crisis, there are things that can be done both at the scene of the crash and thereafter that will make this difficult time just a little bit smoother. It takes a bit of quick thinking and a good head for documentation, but you, too, can get through the potentiality of an accident out on the road. Here are five things to keep in the back of your mind.
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1. Document the Scene
If it’s not too late for this piece of advice, it’s important to note that you should document the scene. Unless you’re incapacitated, try to write down as much information as possible. What’s the name of the other driver? Record their license plate number and insurance information.
Annotate the make, model, and condition of the vehicle. Take pictures. Take as many pictures as you can, from every angle of the wreck. If there were any eyewitnesses, walk up to them and ask if they’d be willing to offer their contact information. Go so far as to write down the name and badge number of the police officers who responded to the scene.
2. Call the Insurance Companies
No matter who’s at fault, it’s important to call your insurance company first. Even if the other driver is at fault and you intend to file a claim against their company, you still need to call your own insurer.
Sometimes, they can step in and pay for the repairs to your vehicle or, worst-case scenario, your medical bills until the other party’s company pays out. Also, what if the other driver doesn’t have any insurance?
This is a tricky situation if you’re looking for reparation because the accident was their fault. But, if you’ve elected uninsured motorist coverage, then there may be something your company can do for you.
If the other party has insurance, then they should be your next phone call. Inform them that one of their policyholders has been in an accident and you’d like to file a claim. They’ll need certain information, like the police report, but just be sure to relay the basic facts. Leave your emotions at the doorstep.
The police report will indicate who’s at fault, according to their observations. However, each insurance company will also step in, carry out an investigation, and make their own determinations as to who’s at fault.
3. Secure a Rental Car
The next order of business is a new set of wheels while you wait for the dust to settle. Trouble is, most insurance companies will only pay for a short window of time. Therefore, you want to try to choose the most affordable option out there.
This will extend either the length of time or the monetary amount that the insurance company is willing to pay. And, if push comes to shove and you have to foot the bill for a few days, hopefully it won’t break the bank or run up your credit card.
4. Wait to Hear More
If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company will want to call and speak with you to record your account of the accident. Stick to the facts alone and relay what happened at the scene. At some point, they’ll call you either with an offer or a denial.
Since you’ve also informed your insurance company, then, typically, their lawyers and/or claim representatives will step in and handle the communication from there. If you feel your car insurance company hasn’t done enough to secure the proper payout and you’re wondering what to do next, then you might consider hiring your own car accident lawyer.
Damages come in all shapes and sizes after an accident. Here are some of the damages that an attorney can help you recover:
- vehicle damage
- personal property damage – if something like your laptop or a bicycle was damaged in the accident, these losses may be recuperated
- rental car
- out of pocket expenses – if you had to take a taxi to the car rental shop or home, this is another cost to recuperate
5. Let the Healing Begin
Total damages awards for car accidents can vary significantly depending on the severity of the injuries, the extent of fault on the part of the other driver, and the skill and experience of the victim’s personal injury attorney. While many settlements are agreed to confidentially, it’s difficult to determine an overall average for car accident claims.
Don’t let the trauma of the accident play on repeat for too long. Open up to your friends and families about it. If you need to, talk to a professional about it. Just don’t let the shock fester inside your mind. Stay active. Carry out your everyday activities and try to move past the trauma of a serious car crash.
Sure, there may be plenty of lingering anxieties, working with insurance companies and attorneys, but don’t get swept away in it all. Keep showing up to work. Maintain your social calendar. And work through one accident-related task at a time.
The old adage, “This, too, shall pass,” has stuck around for generations for a reason: it’s true. Folks work through the fallout from car accidents each and every day. You, too, will overcome this trial.
You’ll Get Past Your Car Accident
With a methodical, practical approach, you, too, can get past the trauma of a car accident. If you’re able to let the diligence begin at the scene of the crash and continue all the way through to the end, you’ll know you’ve done everything possible to help your cause.
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