Car accidents happen by the second across the United States. In fact, 38,000 people tragically die in a car accident each year. It is the leading cause of death for Americans from ages 1 to 54.
Another 4.4 million drivers or passengers are seriously injured in car accidents each year. The financial toll on drivers is stunning. The price tag of road crashes in the United States is over $870 billion.
Are you wondering what to do in a car accident? Read on to learn what you should do in the aftermath of an accident. Explore topics like how to use your auto insurance and submitting claims.
What to Do in a Car Accident?
The first thing you should do after a car accident is to call for help. A car accident may seem relatively minor on the surface. However, a lot of force is applied and serious injuries may not be evident at first.
The safest and most prudent course of action is to call 911. Now, police officers and an ambulance will arrive at the scene.
They will check out each person involved in the accident. Based on a medical evaluation, the driver or passengers may be taken to the hospital for additional care.
Should You File a Police Report?
Many people question whether they should involve the police. They know the police file a report that puts the accident on record.
The truth is that the advantages of a police report greatly outweigh any negatives.
There is no guarantee that both parties involved in the accident will agree to what transpired. A police officer is trained to investigate the crime scene and determine what occurred. This information proves invaluable when going through the insurance process.
What Should You Do at the Crash Scene?
With smartphones, we now have the ability to take pictures of the crash scene. These pictures may come in handy when dealing with the insurance company or potential legal issues.
Of course, take photos of the damaged vehicle. You should also take pictures of any injuries sustained during the accident. Lastly, photos of the crash scene and surrounding area may come in handy as well.
Another important step is exchanging information with others involved in the accident. This includes witnesses that may be important if there are questions about what happened.
Make sure to exchange insurance information with other cars involved in the accident. Also, collect names and numbers of witnesses. They may be called on in the event of a dispute or legal issue.
Some people want to take pictures of your license or registration after an accident. You should avoid doing this as sharing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is unwise.
What is Important During Medical Treatment?
In the wake of a car accident, you or a family member may need hospitalization. Based on your symptoms, the hospital may evaluate you for brain damage or internal bleeding.
They are going to run a series of diagnostic tests to check on your condition. Obviously, going to the hospital is not cheap. In severe cases, you may need recurring physical therapy and surgery.
You may be left with thousands of dollars in medical bills. There is no price tag too high for health and safety.
The good news is that auto insurance may cover some of your medical bills. It is important for you to keep records of your hospital stay and follow-up care.
Also, you want to keep copies of any bills or receipts from treatment. This includes driving logs to and from medical facilities. It may also include hotel stays or lost income due to missing work.
How to Submit an Auto Insurance Claim?
The next step in the process is to submit an auto insurance claim. This process culminates in your vehicle getting repaired. It may also include payment for damage to personal property or medical bills related to your accident.
With all the information you collected, it is time to contact the insurance company. Ask them how to initiate a claim and how to transmit everything you have collected.
Here, you can also find out transportation. For starters, your vehicle needs to be towed to a repair facility.
Also, you will need temporary transportation until your car is fixed. Many auto insurance policies include coverage for towing and vehicle rentals.
What is an Insurance Adjuster?
The insurance company is not going to blindly accept a shop’s repair estimate. The same goes for medical bills and any property damage.
Instead, they assign a claims adjuster to your case. The adjuster is going to schedule an appointment to see the vehicle in-person. They will review any evidence provided and perform an assessment for the insurance company.
It is important that you quickly provide the insurance adjuster with any requested information. This will help resolve your claim more expeditiously.
Equally important is an opportunity for the insurance company to approve your claim. You should not authorize any vehicle repairs until insurance blesses it. There is a possibility that you will not be paid for any unauthorized repairs performed.
What if Your Car is Totaled?
In some cases, the vehicle is damaged beyond repair. This is often referred to as a total loss. The cost of repair exceeds the value of the car.
When a car is totaled, the insurance company issues a check. The amount is based on the value of the vehicle. If you have a deductible on the policy, it has to be met first.
For example, you may have a $250 deductible for comprehensive coverage. So the amount of money you receive will be the car’s value less the deductible.
Gap insurance is crucial if you are financing or leasing a vehicle. This provides an added benefit for the amount that you owe on the vehicle less the assessed value.
The Aftermath of a Car Accident: A Recap
After an accident, your head is spinning and there is a lot going on. Health and safety are the most important. Once police and medical professionals have done their job, you can pursue an auto insurance claim.
If you are still wondering what to do in a car accident contact us today to speak with an insurance specialist.