I Was Just Involved in a Car Accident: What Now?

I Was Just Involved in a Car Accident: What Now?

Let’s face it, no one wants to think about being involved in an auto accident. However, according to the National Safety Council, there are approximately 10 million auto accidents every year in the United States. So, chances are, at some point in your life its going to happen to you.  Let the Tallahassee auto accident attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola help! Here are some things to keep in mind when you are involved in a auto accident:

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

1. Get Police to the Scene
Immediately after a car collision, the first thing you should do, if able, is to call authorities to get to the scene.  Once on the scene, authorities will interview drivers and witnesses and usually determine which party is at fault in causing the collision.  They will also collect contact and insurance information from all parties involved and make sure each party has that information before leaving the scene.  Having insurance information for the other party makes it easy to contact their insurance company and report the claim.  Also, having crash report from the authorities helps when the at-fault parties’ insurance company is determining fault, I cannot tell you how many times the at-fault drivers’ version of events is completely different than what is contained in the crash report.

2. Take Photographs
Again, if able, taking photos of the damage sustained by all involved vehicles is a very good idea. Having damage photos will help to establish the severity of the collision.  It is also important to take photos of the vehicles in their final resting positions at the scene as those photos can help to establish which party is at fault in causing the collision.  Further, if there were other circumstances that contributed to the collision, such as a bush blocking a driver’s line of sight or a defective street sign, make sure to take photos of those things as well.

3. Get Insurance Information for the Other Driver
In most circumstances, if the authorities come to the scene of a collision, you will receive a small print out from the investigating officer known as an “exchange of information.”  The exchange of information will contain contact and insurance information for all parties involved in the collision.  However, if authorities do not come to the scene, it is very important to get insurance information, or at least, contact information for the other involved party.  Even if you don’t see any damage to your vehicle and are not experiencing any pain at the scene, that can change in a matter of hours.  Further, it is also a good idea to ask for proof that the person providing the information is who they say they are.  Don’t be afraid to politely ask to see identification for the other driver.

4. Report the Claim to Your Insurance Company
It is always a good idea to contact YOUR OWN insurance company as soon as possible following a collision.  Reporting your claim will ensure that the claim process goes as smoothly as possible, especially when attempting to obtain medical treatment for collision related injuries.  If you are contacted by the insurance company for the at-fault driver it is always a good idea to at least consult with an attorney before signing anything, especially if the insurance company is offering money for you to sign a release.

5. Get Medical Treatment
Not every auto accident will result in a permanent injury, however, it is always a good idea to at least get checked out by a medical professional after being involved in a collision. This is especially true in Florida, where auto accident victims lose their ability to make a claim for medical benefits under their personal injury protection coverage if they haven’t been examined by a medical professional within 14 days of the collision.

Contact Our Tallahassee Car Accident Lawyers Today

The foregoing list is just a short list of the things that should be done after an auto accident and is certainly not exhaustive.  If you have questions about an auto accident call the Tallahassee auto accident attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola at 850-601-1111 for a free consultation today or fill out or Free Consultation form by clicking here.

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Whose Insurance Pays for Repairs After a Car Accident?

One of the biggest headaches associated with being involved in a car accident is getting the damages to your vehicle repaired: the entire process can be difficult.

When you’re involved in an auto accident that is not your fault, you have two options. You can either make a claim for repairs under the collision portion of your own auto policy or run the claim through the property damage coverage of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.  Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, here are some things to consider when making your decision.

Making a Claim on Your Own Policy

In most situations, the driver of the vehicle not at fault in a collision will not want to make a claim to repair property damages through their own policy.  The common reasons being the policyholder does not want to pay their deductible and does not want to face the possibly of a rate hike from making a claim.  These are valid concerns, however, in some situations it may be better to go ahead and make the claim through your own insurance.  For instance, when the at fault driver causes damage to more than just your vehicle in a collision it is usually quicker to go ahead and run the property damage claim through your own policy.  In that type of situation, it will usually take the at fault driver’s insurance company an extended period to determine the extent of all the property damage caused which will often lead to extended delays in getting repairs started on your vehicle.  Insurance companies almost always want to know what the extent of property damage is for all affected parties before approving repairs for any singular party. On the bright side, your own insurance company will then seek the money it pays to fix your vehicle from the insurance company of the at-fault driver, including your deductible.  After recouping your deductible, your insurance company will then reimburse you that money, unfortunately, that process can sometimes take several months to occur.

Making a Claim on the At-Fault Driver’s Policy

If you are involved in an auto wreck caused by someone else and your vehicle is the only one that sustains damage, its usually best to make the claim for vehicle property damage through the at-fault party’s insurance.  Typically, once the claim gets reported and the insurance company determines the insured to be at fault, an insurance adjuster will call and advise you to take the vehicle to one of their “approved” facilities.  Please keep in mind, you are under no obligation to take your vehicle to the requested facility.  You get to make the decision the about who repairs your vehicle.  Most times this is the preferable method to getting property damage resolved because it avoids paying the deductible and eliminates the possibility of a rate hike.

Also note that for a vehicle to be legally operated on Florida roadways it must carry at least $10,000.00 in property damage coverage.  On the other hand, there is no requirement for vehicles to have collision coverage.  If you are involved in an auto accident that is not your fault and do not have collision coverage on your policy, your only choice is to make the damage claim through the at-fault party’s insurance.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Tallahassee, FL

If you have any questions about the handling your property damage claim after a Florida auto accident, call the Tallahassee personal injury attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola today at 850-601-1111 for your free consultation.

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