Getting into a car accident is the last thing you want to deal with, especially when it wasn’t even your fault! Not only does dealing with a car accident take a lot of your time, but it can also be a traumatic experience. If you didn’t see a car accident coming, then you might feel shaken up or in shock from the sudden collision.
Determining who is at fault for the car accident is crucial for the insurance claim. That’s why you always want to call the police to get an official record of what happened after a car accident that’s not your fault. From dealing with insurance companies to scheduling an appointment with trusted car accident doctors near you, here’s everything you need to know about what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault.
What Is a No-Fault Accident?
Are you wondering what to do when I’ve been in a car accident that’s not my fault? It is helpful to understand how the state you live in treats car accidents. In some states, a no-fault accident means you would file a claim with your car insurance to help with medical costs, lost wages, or other damages, regardless of who caused the accident. In other states, the at-fault driver and their car insurance would be responsible for the accident and paying for damages. Knowing how your state treats who’s at fault in an accident will help you know which insurance company to call. In any car accident, it helps to get the car insurance information of the other driver as well as your own. When the police arrive at the accident, they will also gather this information for the police report. Working with your insurance or someone else’s insurance can be tricky, so you want to have all the information you need to receive full compensation and coverage after a car accident.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
These 7 steps will help you stay safe and set you up for success as you navigate the process of getting the support you need after a car accident.
Check for Injuries
The first thing you should do after a car accident is to pause and check for injuries. Whether or not you are the only person in the car, it is important to make sure you do not see any signs of serious injury before attempting to move. Check on others in the vehicle to see if they have suffered any injuries, too. Take a few deep breaths and exhale while you check for injuries to help clear your head and jumpstart your body’s adrenaline to help you manage the stressful situation.
Get to a Safe Place
Once you have checked for injuries, get to a safe place if you are able. Take extra precautions if you get out of the vehicle, especially if the accident occurred on a busy street. In some cases, you may not be able to move your vehicle due to the damage or traffic in the area. However, if the accident occurs in the middle of a busy road or highway, you may want to pull to the side of the road. While you might be concerned about causing traffic, the main issue is making sure you are safe from any further damage or injury. Turn on your hazard lights to notify other drivers to slow down.
Call the Police
Contact the police to report the accident. They will want to know if you or anyone in your vehicle was injured. If so, they will send emergency services to the scene of the accident to assist you. In the event of a minor car accident, the police may respond to the scene or may request you submit a report via their online system. When the police attend to the scene of the accident, they will include their name, badge number, and contact information on the police report. They will also inform you of how to receive the full accident report once it is completed. If the police do not come to the scene, then you will be able to request a report from the law enforcement officer after you submit the online report.
Gather Important Information
Talk to the other driver to get their name, contact information, driver’s license number, and car insurance company. Write down or take a photo of the other vehicle and its make and model. If other people were in the car with the driver, then you can also ask to write down their driver’s license numbers, as well. You can also take photos with your phone of the other driver’s documents. If any witnesses are nearby, you can ask if they would be willing to provide their contact info to share with the police about what they saw happen.
Document the Scene
While you wait for the police to arrive, you can take photos of the accident and the damage to your vehicle or body. If you have a smartphone, use the camera and video to gather as much information as possible. It can also help to include any street signs nearby in the photos and show which direction the vehicles were going when the accident occurred. When you check the area where the other driver hit your car, take a photo of the specific area and a wider photo of the entire car for perspective. You will also want to write down or take a voice memo of the date and time of the accident, along with your initial memories of what occurred.
Call Your Insurance Company
Let your car insurance company know about the accident as soon as possible, even if you weren’t at fault. You don’t want to be held liable for any damages that occurred during the accident. Your insurance company can also determine if the potential repairs needed would outweigh the value of the car. Never leave the scene, even for a minor accident, and never try to work out a deal with you and the driver. If costs start to pile up, you want to have your insurance company on board.
See a Car Accident Doctor
The most important thing you can do after making sure you are safe is to see a car accident doctor as soon as possible. Whether you were in a minor fender bender or a multi-car collision, you want to get checked out by a professional. A general rule of thumb for car accidents is that if your car sustained any kind of damage, then your body likely did too. The stress of a car accident and adrenaline pumping through your body can keep you from recognizing signs or symptoms of injuries right away. Car accident doctors are highly skilled and equipped in diagnosing and treating car accident injuries even if you haven’t started experiencing symptoms yet.
Treatment for Car Accident Injuries
Once the police report is complete, there is still a lot to be done after a car accident. You may need to work out repairs for your car and figure out how you’re going to get to and from work in the meantime. However, you also want to prioritize your health and well-being! The sooner you get to a doctor, the better your chances are for a full recovery from car accident injuries. If emergency medical technicians assisted you at the scene, then they may recommend you go to the hospital or follow up with your doctor. After emergency medical attention, you will want to see a doctor who specializes in car accident injuries and who can provide you with personalized treatment. Schedule an appointment with a car accident doctor near you as soon as possible after a car accident. If you suffered any injuries from the car accident, then the insurance company will likely request documentation.
Car accident doctors understand the importance of appropriate documentation of any injuries that are necessary for your insurance claim. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you have been experiencing, as well as any new symptoms that may occur in the days or weeks after the accident. When a car accident doctor creates a treatment plan for you, it is important to follow that plan all the way through. The insurance claim will typically want information on your diagnosis, treatment plan, and progress. Following your treatment plan will demonstrate you are taking your injuries seriously and are committed to your recovery.
For a car accident doctor near you, visit AICA Orthopedics. Our team of car accident doctors includes orthopedic doctors, chiropractors, neurologists, and physical therapists who can provide you with quality, comprehensive care. With multiple locations around the metro Atlanta area, you can find a team of highly skilled and qualified car accident doctors near you to support you through your treatment and recovery. Call or visit us today to learn more about how we can help you from diagnosis through recovery after a car accident.