While you must take every precaution to stay safe while driving, car accidents are more common than many may think. According to a study in Esurance, approximately 77 percent of drivers experience at least 1 car accident in their driving tenure. Over 6 million car accidents occur each year on the roadways in the United States of America- varying from fender benders to more serious and fatal car crashes. As a driver, experiencing your first car crash can be shocking and in some cases, confusing at the time. However, by preparing yourself for what to do in the aftermath of a car accident, you can give yourself a better chance of moving past it.
Ensure You And Any Passengers Are Safe
The first thing you should do after a car accident is to determine if anyone, including yourself, is hurt. Assess your surroundings including any passengers and pedestrians. If anyone is hurt, call for medical assistance. Most importantly, do not leave the scene of an accident and ensure you call the authorities so they can start an accident report. You may need it later on.
Get Evidence Of The Accident
If you plan on filing a legal car accident claim for compensation or filing an insurance claim after the accident, you will need strong evidence to support your case and prove fault. Ideally, you should collect any evidence of the car accident as soon as possible. This begins with requesting a copy of the accident report as some insurers ask for it during the claims process. You should also collect photographs of any damages to your car, the other involved vehicles, and any injuries. Ensure you collect evidence from around the accident including any debris, road obstructions, and skid marks.
Start The Claims Process And Negotiate A Settlement
Once you have dealt with the immediate aftermath of a car accident, it is time to notify your car insurance company. Any delay or choice not to notify the insurance company can leave you liable for damages and not entitled to compensation. During the process, you may find yourself engaged in negotiations with the insurance company over a car accident settlement. A car accident settlement calculator can give you a general guideline on the amount you can expect. However, this should be taken with caution as the calculator does not guarantee you will receive that amount (or close to it). Many other factors can affect your settlement like the state law. For instance, Texas is a no-fault state where you would have to prove liability. If this happens, you may be granted a waiver and avoid paying a deductible.
While no one can completely guarantee that they will never be in a car accident, you can take steps to ensure you deal with it in the best way if it does happen. These are just a few of them on the list, but simply remembering and following them can save you a lot of money and help you focus on moving past the accident on the right foot.