Surviving a car accident can be a jarring and traumatic experience. Assessing your own injuries, those of your passengers, the state of your vehicle, the other people and vehicles involved…it becomes an overweening whirlwind of thoughts and emotions.
Once your nerves have settled and your injuries are tended to, make sure to file an insurance claim with your insurance provider and the insurer of the responsible party. This will allow you to cover medical bills, loss of income, damage to your vehicle, and suffering that resulted from the accident.
You want to determine if it is a first party claim (reimbursed through your own insurance company) or a third party claim (reimbursed through someone else’s company). No matter the responsible party, it is a wise idea to gather as much information as possible. Take photos and talk to witnesses, if any are present. Get the other driver’s name and address and his or her insurance company name and policy information.
Contact the police, especially if it is the other person’s fault. The police report can aid in collecting all the facts from the incident and help resolve any disputes the at-fault party and his or her insurance company might try to spin. Never admit fault at the scene.
Be sure to report to the insurance company within 24 hours of the accident. If it was someone else’s fault, contact that person’s insurance provider. Be prepared to provide details about the incident and the nature of your injuries and damages. Having photos, witness accounts, and a doctor’s assessment of your injuries will help your case and increase the likelihood and amount of your reimbursement.
Please do not wait too long to call your insurance provider or fail to submit your medical records, as some claims can be denied based on these reasons.
In the event that the accident is your vault, It is important to maintain current liability and property damage insurance so you can have monetary protection, prevent yourself from being sued, and not have to worry about being ticketed for not having insurance.
In addition to damage and liability, it could be wise to get personal injury protection (PIP). This insurance covers your medical bills, loss of income, and other related expenses incurred by you or your passengers when you are injured in a car accident. Keep in mind this is after your deductible, and up to your covered limit. This is considered “no-fault,” as the insurance pays regardless of which party is determined to be responsible. This can also cover you if you’re a passenger in another driver’s car or are hit by a car while walking.
If you are injured in a car accident, our Houston car accident attorneys at Reich and Binstock (800-622-7271) can help facilitate a smooth interaction with the insurance companies, explain your rights and entitlements to you in a clear manner (this prevents hassles from outside entities), represent you in court, and help you obtain financial compensation for your injury. We will also make sure you receive pay if the responsible party is uninsured or underinsured.
Remember to always keep your insurance card in an easily accessible place, and while you’re at it, go ahead and write our number on it…just to be safe.