Any type of car accident can be traumatic—but it feels way worse if you know you were at fault. You’ll not only have to foot the cost of your own vehicle damage, but you may be liable to pay for the other driver’s car or compensation for injuries.
So what should you do if you’re at fault in a car accident? And how could it affect you in the future?
At the scene
At the time of the crash, there are several steps you need to take. First, check for injuries on both you and any passengers. If there are any injuries that need attention, call 911.
If possible, move both cars out of danger. Pull over to the hard shoulder if there is no other area available. Make sure to turn the car off, put the handbrake on, and turn the hazard lights on.
Next, take note of the other driver’s information, and provide them with yours. You should obtain their name, number, insurance company, registration number, and their policy number.
All road accidents should be reported to the police, and you should not leave the scene until they have arrived. It might be tempting to avoid calling—especially if you are at fault—but to make the process as smooth and as fair as possible, it’s better to maintain accountability.
Make sure to take as many pictures of the scene, the cars, and any visible injuries as possible. This will help keep the process factual, and prevent the other driver changing their story in the future.
Lastly, you should get in touch with your insurance company.
If you and the other driver are clearly disagreeing, or there’s a significant chance they’ll want to claim, it might be worth calling a personal injury lawyer such as those at Horst Shewmaker to find out what might happen next. Although these lawyers will typically work for the insurance company, or for the injured individual, a free consultation may give you more information so that you’re prepared for any cases that come your way.
Can I claim on my insurance?
If your insurance includes collision coverage, you will be able to claim for any damage done to your car. It’s worth taking your car to an independent garage to understand how much it would cost to fix out of your pocket, as this can often be cheaper than going through your insurance.
The injured, not-at-fault driver will also be able to claim on your insurance for car damage, as well as their medical bills. It’s worth taking a look at your contract to see what you’d be responsible for.
How will your insurance be impacted?
When your policy is up for renewal, there’s no real escape from any claims you’ve made, or those that have been made against you. And unfortunately, claims will impact your insurance costs. In an accident, your insurance company will determine who was at fault, and charge you accordingly.
To avoid having your insurance fees increased, you may want to consider purchasing accident forgiveness.
Of course, the easiest way to not be impacted by a car accident is to drive safely and follow the rules of the road.