What To Know After A Car Accident That Isn't Your Fault

Getting into a car accident is a shock, and you may not know what to expect once the dust has settled. These six facts can give you an idea of what you should know after a car accident that isn't your fault.  

Information Should Be Gathered Immediately

Even if the accident wasn't your fault, it's up to you to help prove that to the insurance carrier. Immediately after the accident, you want to start collecting all information that proves what happened. This includes calling the police to give official statements, taking pictures, exchanging information with the other driver and asking witnesses for contact information. This is the best time to get the most accurate information on how the accident occurred.

You Should Go See a Doctor

Whether you're in no pain, minor pain or severe pain, you should go see a doctor. In many cases, victims of car accidents don't realize they sustained injuries until a few days later when the pain and discomfort appear. In other cases, a pain you assume is minor and will go away soon may lead to more serious, long-term problems, such as a spinal cord injury or brain trauma. Going to the doctor does two things. Firstly, it treats any problem you may have, preventing more serious complications. Secondly, it provides proof to the insurance company that you require more money to pay for medical expenses.

You Still Need to Notify Your Insurance Carrier

Although the accident wasn't your fault, you still must contact your insurance carrier. They'll find out anyway, and they won't be pleased you didn't report the accident sooner. In fact, many polices require you to report the accident fast and offer your full cooperation in helping them understand what happened. When reporting the accident, provide all relevant information and be completely honest.  

Even if a Driver Has no Coverage, You're Covered

Generally, the insurance company of the driver responsible for the accident pays. However, some drivers on the road don't have any insurance or they have inadequate insurance. The laws vary from state to state, but usually, if an uninsured driver hits you, your insurance company pays you if you have adequate coverage. They then seek reimbursement from the driver at fault. If the driver's insurance doesn't offer enough coverage, your insurance company will pay the remaining amount owed to you.

Your Insurance Premiums Will Probably Increase

When an accident is your fault, it's not a surprise to see an increase in your insurance premiums. However, when you aren't at fault, premiums may still rise. This is because you are supposed to be a vigilant and observant driver. Getting in an accident makes the insurance company feel you are not a defensive driver and more prone to accidents. Some states, however, have laws in place to protect against rate increases when the accident wasn't your fault. Also, some insurance policies will forgive your first accident and avoid an increase.

An Attorney May be Necessary

An accident isn't always cut and dry. Sometimes, to protect themselves, to get money or because they are genuinely confused, the other driver may claim you were responsible even though you weren't. In this situation, you may need to hire an attorney and take the claim to court and prove you weren't at fault. Another time you may need an attorney is if there is significant property damage or personal injury. In these cases, the amount offered by the insurance company isn't always as much as you need, and a lawyer can help fight for you.

When you're in a car accident that isn't your fault, you're still responsible for reporting the accident and offering proof you weren't at fault. For more serious accidents where you've been seriously injured, have major property damage or have a hard time proving you weren't at fault, a car accident attorney is your best bet. For more information about getting help after a car accident, contact a lawyer in your area today.