What do you do in a car accident? Many people get confused after an emergency and end up exacerbating the situation. You may feel disoriented or too rattled to think straight after a collision, a minor or a big one. For this reason, educating yourself on measures to keep yourself safe and get back on the road quickly is crucial. Here’s an ultimate car accident resource on everything related to auto accidents, from recovery and legal information to repairs, that will alleviate your stress in the aftermath.
Call Emergency Services
First things first. You should contact emergency services before anyone else. Contact the fire department, the ambulance, healthcare services, and the police. Some police agencies are moving away from sending personnel to the accident scene and toward online reporting. The reason is the excessive number of cases. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 6.1 million automobile accidents in the US annually, translating to over 16000 cases daily.
If a police officer shows up, note their name, badge number, and contact details. Ensure you ask the officer for a copy of the accident report. You can also get a copy of the report from the law enforcement agency or insurance provider addressing your claim.
You can also report an incident online or at the closest police department. Obtaining an official report is a good idea. It will come in handy if the other motorist sues you for injuries or damage.
Understand Your Legal Rights
Part of the accident resource is being versed in things that can jeopardize your legal rights following an automobile collision. It is imperative that you protect these rights and file your claim as soon as possible as you ponder on steps to take next. Otherwise, you risk losing fair settlements to which you are lawfully entitled. The statute of limitations in your state is the first thing you need to know. This is the window of opportunity within which you may bring a lawsuit or make a claim against the other motorist or third parties involved in the accident.
If another person’s carelessness caused your injuries, you can also be entitled to damages and reimbursement for your losses. These damages could include lost pay if your accident prevents you from going to work, medical costs, pain and suffering from your injuries, and more. If you pursue a personal injury claim following an auto accident, your case will involve negotiations with the other driver’s insurance provider. Insurance firms are often tough opponents during negotiations because they will do everything they can to limit or reject any claims made to safeguard their interests. It’s worse when dealing with unscrupulous companies.
Let an experienced personal injury lawyer handle negotiations involving these companies because they understand the legal systems and have the necessary skills to negotiate effectively. They can guarantee a fair settlement. A skilled lawyer will work to safeguard your rights by preventing the insurance provider from taking advantage of you. According to Forbes, while the average compensation is $23000, many people receive less than $10000.
Without proper representation, you might end up paying hefty fines or serving time in jail if you don’t prove your innocence, the facts notwithstanding. If you are wrong, a reputable attorney can negotiate a plea bargain.
Arrange a Tow Truck
Let’s face it. Having a tow truck service number on your speed dial is a bright way to prepare for the unexpected. In reality, tow truck services might be the most essential accident resource that may save your life! Wonder how?
Picture this: During a winter storm, your vehicle accidentally slips, hits a tree, you get injured, and your car won’t start. Without prompt tow truck services, you’d probably freeze to death, right? It isn’t an uncommon scenario. In fact, according to the Department of Transport, over 1300 people die, and more than 116,800 get injured yearly due to winter vehicle crashes. For this reason, keep your personal injury lawyer and emergency tow truck services on speed dial.
Your safety and that of others involved must be the top priority after a car accident. Even so, other road users need protection. When your car suffers heavy damage and is inoperable, leaving it on the roadside poses a safety hazard to other drivers. Therefore, you must arrange for a tow truck to remove it safely from the accident scene to reduce further accidents and injuries.
Do you understand your insurance policy? If you’re unaware, most insurers require you to arrange a tow truck immediately after the accident. Not following such steps and procedures may lead to complications when filing a claim or receiving coverage for repairs. Therefore, ensure that you follow simple procedures, such as arranging a tow truck, to avoid future problems with your insurer.
Most jurisdictions require you to arrange a tow truck after an accident. If you live in such areas, you must never leave the accident scene without addressing the situation as per the authority to avoid legal consequences, such as heavy fines or penalties. Adhering to the law by arranging a tow truck shows you’re a responsible citizen.
Involve Your Car Insurance for Repairs
Understandably, getting involved in a car accident can leave you in shock and emotional disbelief. However, getting past this phase is important since your decisions after an incident can majorly affect your finances. Your car may sustain minor or major damages. If it’s not totaled, you’ll need finances to perform interior, exterior, and transmission repairs before getting back on the wheel. Who will help you cover the repair costs?
The good news is that insurance companies may finance the car repairs. According to the United States Department of State, vehicle liability insurance requirements mandate all vehicle owners to have insurance coverage. However, having insurance isn’t enough accident resource; you must understand the different types of car insurance. The different types of car insurance include liability, collision, medical payments, personal injury, and comprehensive insurance.
Collision insurance cover comes in handy in a car accident involving a collision with objects like another vehicle. Some companies may also cover damages from a hit-and-run incident. Comprehensive cover may also cover repair costs if your car sustained damages from certain non-collision incidents like fire, weather, or vandalism.
After a car accident occurs, it’s advisable to contact your insurance company immediately to start the claiming process. Insurance coverage can be a handy accident resource, saving you money for repairs. In cases where the other driver caused the accident, you should file a claim using their insurance coverage, provided they have relevant coverage. If there are no complications, the company disburses the funds to cover repairs after valuation. Some insurance companies may request that you use their preferred auto body repair shops, but you can also use your mechanic.
Additional Car Improvements Post Accident
Though your insurance may cover repair costs for your car, you can go the extra mile and visit an accident resource center for maximum recovery before getting back on the road. These centers offer support, information, and resources to improve your vehicle for added safety. Generally, the insurance coverage will pay for basic repairs without the much-needed aftermarket modifications.
For extra safety on the road, you can visit auto parts stores to buy various parts or have their mechanic add certain modifications. These vehicle improvements may include adding extra mirrors to enhance visibility and reduce blind spots. You can also install backup cameras, such as a reverse camera. This accident resource helps avoid hitting objects while reversing.
According to car accident statistics published by Forbes, 35% of fatal accidents happen between 6:00 pm and 12:00 am. Therefore, upgrading your headlights to brighter HID or LED lights can reduce the occurrence of accidents since you’ll have better night visibility.
Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) show that distracted driving causes the death of about nine people every day in the United States. The distractions may include using a mobile phone while driving, causing you to take your eyes off or hands off the steering wheel. Consider installing a phone mount or Bluetooth adapter if you’re driving an older car model with less modern technology.
The Bluetooth adapter enables you to enjoy music and receive phone calls hands-free, reducing distractions. You can also seek car window tinting services to enhance safety and improve driving safety. Tinted windows can decrease light glare, enhance your car’s aesthetics, and minimize eye strain. They also enhance privacy by preventing unwanted attention and deterring potential thieves.
Assess Whether You Need a Refresher
Accidents happen all the time. But in some cases, the main culprit is not bad roads or faulty car components; it’s you. A simple self-examination will tell you that you can avoid accidents simply by returning to driving class. It’s an accident resource that will keep you safe on the roads for years. While a refresher course might seem too much, especially if you have been driving for years, it’s crucial.
There are numerous signs that you should consider a refresher course. First, you might have been convicted of a driving offense. Therefore, you need to update your knowledge of the driving rules, especially if you have recently moved to a new state. Retaking your driving lessons will also boost your diminishing confidence and help you cope with a new car model if you finally purchased a car years after finalizing your driving course. The fresher also comes in handy if you feel you have inadequate driving skills or acquired bad driving habits.
You don’t need an extensive lesson to deal with issues like feeling unsteady when on the wheels or taking too long to react when a car stops abruptly in front of you. You only need an instructor to knock the feeling back on the trail. An 8 hour driving course is enough to deal with anxieties caused by a recent accident. These short courses are vital in bringing you up to speed regarding new rules that have recently come into effect. For instance, according to the Sun, Texas recently passed a law that makes drivers liable for $1000 tickets for failing to reduce speed or change lanes when official personnel are on the roads.
In Some Cases, You Would Need a Replacement Car
Sometimes, your car may be so badly damaged or totaled after an accident that it cannot be repaired or restored to its original condition. This can be very stressful and frustrating, especially if you mostly rely on your car for your daily commute and errands. So, what would you do in such scenarios?
A replacement car is the accident resource you need to get back on the road. You can buy or lease a new one, especially if you are on a budget. Unfortunately, acquiring a new vehicle can be a complicated and costly process, particularly when you still owe money on your old car or if your insurance company didn’t cover the full value of your car. Nevertheless, there are a few steps you can take to simplify the process of replacing your car.
First, get a copy of the police report and the insurance claim report stating your car’s estimated value and condition before and after the accident. These documents will help you negotiate with your insurance company and prove your case if there is a dispute. Secondly, if you have an outstanding car loan, pay it off or roll over the remaining balance. Alternatively, you can sell the damaged car for parts or scrap and get some cash to repay a portion of the loan. This will reduce your car loan and improve your credit score, making it easier to finance your new car.
Take a prudent step and shop for the best deal and financing options for your new car or lease. You can use online platforms or calculators to compare prices and features of different cars and car dealers. Read their terms and conditions carefully before signing any contract or agreement. You should also check the warranty, insurance, and maintenance costs of your new car or lease and only accept the deal if it’s within your budget.
Though we sincerely hope you never encounter such an unfortunate car accident, being ready can really help. Utilize the accident resource as your go-to guide for repairs, legal guidance, and a smooth recovery process. Your physical and legal well-being are of the utmost importance.