Having a car accident can be scary, especially if you have never had one before.
Even if you are an excellent driver you could still end up in an accident. You can’t control the other drivers or nature. Knowing what to do when you have an accident is in your control. There are important steps you should take when you have a car accident. Keep reading to learn how to file an insurance claim and what do when you have an accident.
You Had an Accident, Now What?
The aftermath of an accident can be chaotic. You may have an injury or not even aware of what is going on. If you can though there are some key things you should do after the accident. These things will help you when you file your insurance claim.
Assess the Scene
If you can get out of your vehicle safely it is important to assess the scene. Look around you and take everything in. Do you have injuries? Does anyone else of injuries? What are the damages to your vehicle? Are there any safety concerns? Knowing your surroundings and what is going on is important.
Find a way to call 911. If you do not have a phone or can’t find your phone have someone else call. Stop another motorist if needed. Get the police and ambulance to the scene as fast as you can. You may not think you have an injury but sometimes the adrenaline can play tricks on you. Get checked out by a professional to see if you have any injuries.
Never flee the scene of an accident. In Florida, the law requires that you report an accident if there are any injuries. You also must report it if there are damages to property that are worth more than $500. It is a good rule of thumb to always call the police if you have an accident. It will help your insurance claim to have a police report.
Assess the Damages
If there are no serious injuries, then you need to assess your property damages.
Check out your vehicle and the other parties. Or if you have crashed into something look at the damages to the structure. As I mentioned above if damages are over $500 then you must report it. If you have a cell phone with a camera take photos of the scene and the damages at the moment. If you don’t you can do this later but it’s better at the scene.
If you are in an accident you need to share your information with anyone else involved. They should share their information with you as well.
Regardless of whose fault it is.
In Florida, if there are damages or injuries you must share your name, address, and vehicle registration information. You must show your driver’s license to anyone involved in the accident as well as the police. You will want to provide them with your insurance information as well for claims.
Seek Medical Attention
If you have any injuries, you should seek medical attention. Even if it is something minor you should see a doctor. Keep track of any expenses and keep copies of receipts and bills. This will save you lots of time and energy when making insurance claims. Follow any medical advice you receive and document your care. You might consider taking photos of your injuries if you can.
How to File an Insurance Claim
You will want to file an insurance claim as soon as you can. Florida requires that all drivers carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to cover any accidents. If you are not at fault for the accident any medical or property damages will be paid by insurance.
PIP insurance covers $10,000 in medical and disability expenses and $5000 in death costs. If the accident is an at-fault accident (meaning someone caused it) then you can file a claim against them. If your expense is more than this, you can sue them for the extra costs.
If your accident is a no-fault accident (meaning no one caused it) then you will seek a claim with your insurance. Depending on your insurance they will cover your expenses in an accident.
To file a claim, you will need to call the insurance company of who is at fault or your own if no one is. You will let them know you need to make a claim. It helps to know the sr22 insurance requirements in your area.
From there they will ask you a number of questions about the accident. These things can help you get the best results.
The more evidence you have the better. Take photos of damages, injuries, and the scene. Look for witnesses to ask for a statement. Get a copy of the police report. Documents proving injuries and damages. Anything that proves your costs.
Get a Lawyer
If you have injuries or damages over $500 a lawyer can help you file your claim. Call the lawyer before you talk to the insurance companies. Many times, they will take your case without any fees and they take a portion of your settlement. Find a lawyer with experience and that you trust. They will walk you through the claims process and advise on the best course of action.
Be honest during the process. Be honest about the severity of your damages and injuries. Whose fault it is, even if it is your own. Answer all the questions the best you can with honesty. It will keep you out of trouble.
You Filed a Claim, Now What?
Now that you have filed the insurance claim all you can do is wait. It may take some time before it has a resolution. Follow any medical orders. Keep in touch with insurance companies and your lawyer if you have one. Keep these concerns in mind about how to file an insurance claim if you ever have an accident.