What to Do if You Are in a Car Accident
It’s important to know what to do if you’re caught up in a car accident. If you take the right steps immediately after an accident, you can stop a bad situation from getting worse and help to make sure your car insurance claim is paid out without problems.
Seeking property damage after a car accidentIf possible, always use your insurance to cover the damage to your car. If you were not at fault for causing the accident, opening a claim to repair the damages to your car will not result in higher premiums or other negative consequence to your insurability. Your own insurance company owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing because you are their customer. Many times your insurance company will also waive your deductible or return it promptly after it has been reimbursed by the other driver's insurance company.
The defendant's insurance company owes you no such duty and is motivated solely by trying to save as much money as it can on your claim. Sometimes, you have no choice but to deal with the other insurer for your damages and rental car, but if at all possible, file a claim with your own company.
Treatment for car accident injuriesGet the care and treatment you need without delay. Many people are not aware of a provision in their auto policy called "Med-Pay." This provision, usually with limits between $1K and $5K, pays for any reasonable and necessary medical expenses associated with your injuries regardless of who is at fault. This provision usually applies to passengers in your car as well.
In addition to med pay, many providers will accept what is called a "lien" on your personal injury recovery if your insurance will not cover their costs. Usually, you need a lawyer to co-sign the lien with you so that the provider is assured of being paid when the claim resolves.
Be active in your recovery from injuryTake an active role in recovering from your injuries. You are your own best advocate. Ask questions and tell your health care providers everything about your condition and how you are feeling. Tell them about pre-existing health problems that may have some bearing on the injuries you suffered in the accident.
If you are not getting better, tell your healthcare provider and be insistent about exploring further diagnostic workup, for example, MRI, CT scan, nerve conduction study, or alternative treatments like epidural steroid injections, acupuncture, surgery.