How To Handle A Traffic Accident From A Legal Standpoint
Accidents do happen, even to the most careful of us. When an accident happens, it leaves you in shock and rage over the driver who ran the red light. Sometimes, it leaves one with some injuries.
But, whatever the circumstances, keeping a cool head is vital. Specifically, it allows you to approach the post-accident process more rationally and cover all the details more thoroughly.
We’ve prepared vital tips that will make it easier for you to handle a traffic accident.
Assess for Any Injuries
This is perhaps the most important thing to do after an accident. As soon as you can, assess whether you or the other road user has been injured. Then, call law enforcement and 911 to get an emergency response if either party has sustained any injuries.
Also, consider calling a police officer even if it’s a minor traffic accident. A police officer will help you prepare an official report used to seek compensation from the insurer.
Move to Safety
First, shoulder the truck off or get off the main road to avoid causing any traffic snarl-up or causing another accident. Also, ensure that you set up the emergency triangles and the reflective lights to warn other approaching vehicles. Lastly, if there’s a danger of explosion, move away from the scene to a safer distance.
Collect Vital Information
There is undoubtedly vital information that has to be exchanged at the scene. State laws are different on the details of this, but you are expected to provide the other party with your name and insurance details to the other party in almost all states. This is vital for the legal process that will follow. However, be careful with the information that you provide; giving too much might be twisted against your case.
- Police report
- The other party’s insurance details
- A witness statement
- Contact of the other party, should they be willing.
And, there are several mobile apps you could use to document vital details from the accident.
Decide on Insurance Claim to Apply
In-state laws, most claims are determined by the coverage type of both parties and the driver that was at fault. In most cases, it is at this stage that the process becomes tricky. For example, if you are looking for a Johnson City truck accident lawyer, it’s a good idea to always seek professional service to navigate all the details of the accident. If the at-fault driver were the other party, the claim would entail; all your expenses and those of your passengers. Their liability coverage will cover the damage to your truck and the medical bills up to them of their bodily injury coverage
Filing a Claim
To avoid the hassle of back and forth with insurance, many drivers decide to pay for the damages in cash, especially if it only needs minor repairs. However, a few months down the line, this might cost you a few thousand dollars. Or, you might risk losing your insurance even when the at-fault driver was the other party.
- To Navigate the Process of Filing a Claim:
First, file the claim with your insurance provider. There will be a deductible you might be required to pay but will be reimbursed from the other party’s insurance.
The investigation to assess the damages and estimate the repair costs is done by the at-fault party’s insurance. Also, the at-fault party insurance will cover your medical bills and those of your passengers. And, if you had already spent on bills, they will reimburse you.
Should their limited coverage be not enough, your collision coverage will come through for you. Even uninsured motorist coverage will have it. And, deductibles apply in both.
Look for Better Rates
You might have realized it. Premiums tend to shoot up by a significant percentage after an accident; sometimes, up to 50% higher. This is mainly dependent on your insurer and the gravity of the accident. Some insurers might offer some forgiveness if you are the at-fault party but generally, after most accidents come higher premiums.
A 2020 report by the Consumer Federation of America established that even when you are not at fault, premiums could go up by up to 10% depending on the insurers. Yet, the law provides for this only when the truck driver was at fault. Additionally, the time of day that the accident happened might have an impact on your premiums.
These are vital details that you need to prioritize while shopping for lower rates if it demands so.
Surviving an accident is the first victory. And, there are more victories ahead in the post-accident process if all the details are handled thoroughly. Therefore, be of sharp focus both at the accident scene and when navigating the legal process. Getting an experienced lawyer to fight for your best interests will make it easier for you.