What to Do When You’re In An Accident and How to Promptly File an Accident Claim
Let’s be completely and totally honest, no one wants to be in a car accident. In fact, most people will do everything that they possibly can to avoid one. Unfortunately, there are situations when car accidents are simply unpreventable. According to the Consumer Protection Association of America, over 6.3 million people are involved in car crashes every year. In 2001, alone, 42,000 died in car crashes. With this in mind, it is absolutely critical that you have adequate insurance to protect you and your loved ones and that you file an accident claim on time. In this brief article, we will discuss the steps you need to do in order to make sure that your claim is successfully processed and that your insurance company fulfills their part of the contract.
The first thing you should do after an accident is to stay calm and remain in control of the situation. If there are no serious injuries, you can move the cars to the side of the road. If someone is deeply hurt, they should remain in the vehicle properly secured with a seat belt and the car should be left where it is. Ensure that everyone is safe from harm and stay exactly where the incident occurred. Exchange important information with the other driver. For instance, you’ll need to gather their license plate numbers, phone number, name, address and any other information. If there are witnesses, make sure that you obtain their contact information as well. Document the incident with pictures so that you can show the damage to both vehicles.
Second, you should call the police right away so that you can report the accident. After you finish calling the police, call your insurance company to report the incident. In some incidents, you can file the report on site. In other situations, you’ll have to go to the station. Either way, the police report must contain accurate information about the incident, the other driver and yourself. In most instances, it is the most important tool in helping the insurance companies evaluate who is financially responsible and who is at fault. So, when you go to the police station, make sure that you, the other driver and any witnesses, states all the facts exactly as they appear. Tell the officer exactly what happened and don’t leave anything to chance.
Third, you must promptly file a claim with your insurance company. In fact, most insurance companies have specific stipulations that state that you must file a claim promptly. With this in mind, it is always a good idea to file a claim as soon as you possibly can. In most instances, you can wait 24-48 hours to file your claim with your insurance company however; it is best to file it sooner. Keep in mind that filing a claim typically only involves part of the claim filing process. If there were serious injuries and you decide that you want to file a personal injury suit or the other party files one against you, there are certain time limits that each party has to file for the claim to be heard in a court of law. The amount of time you have to file for a personal injury claim will depend specifically on your state’s Statue of Limitations. In some states, like Florida, you may have up to 4 years to file your claim. In other states like Alabama you may only have 2 years to file your claim. Most states like Alabama, Arizona, California, and Idaho allow 2 years to file. Either way, it is absolutely paramount that you file your claim for a personal injury lawsuit within the stated period of your state’s statute of limitations. If you don’t, your case will be automatically thrown out and your lawsuit denied.
In conclusion, being involved in an accident is always difficult however, if you follow the above tips, you’ll have the right information your insurance company needs for filing a claim. Plus, you’ll be adequately prepared to file it with documentation, photographs a comprehensive police report, etc. If you find yourself in an accident, stay calm, remain in control, move to a safe location (if possible), obtain adequate information about the other driver and witnesses, file a police report and file your claim with the insurance company within 24-48 hours and with the court within your state’s statue of limitations.