You were sitting at a red light, waiting for it to turn green. Suddenly, a car slams into the rear of your vehicle and pushes you into the car in front of you. Or perhaps you were starting to make a left-hand turn and the vehicle from the opposite direction went at the same time and hit the front of your vehicle. You may wonder what to do in a car accident that wasn’t your fault.
In the first instance, it’s fairly easy to determine who was at fault since your vehicle was not moving. In the second situation, both parties could maintain they had the right to go first, which makes fault more difficult to determine.
It’s not your responsibility at this point to determine fault or to prove you weren’t at fault. Even with a minor accident, you should contact the police. They will take statements from everyone present and write a report based on the information they find. This information may later change if new evidence comes to light.
Even though the police will create a report showing who they believe is at fault, you should take note of the situation to prove your side. Take notes as soon as you can about what happened just prior to the accident and when it occurred. Notice any details that may be relevant to the situation. For example, in the incident where two vehicles were turning at the same time, can you clarify who got to the stop sign first? How long did you sit at the sign and did you have your signal light on? Take photos of the vehicles and accident area if possible.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
You will want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible so they can begin working on your claim. They will get access to the police report and gather statements from you and the other parties. Their job is to prove you were not at fault so you aren’t liable for everyone else’s damages and injuries.
The insurance provider will assign someone to your claim. They will work with you and the information gathered to determine the next steps. Since you weren’t at fault, they will seek to get payment from the liable party. They may try to negotiate a settlement if the other party doesn’t accept responsibility or if the other party’s insurance provider wants to negotiate.
When to Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
A common mistake people make after being in a car accident that wasn’t their fault is waiting to contact an personal injury attorney. They believe they must work with their insurance provider and follow their instructions and recommendations.
However, it is best to contact an attorney right away if you’ve been in a car accident which was someone else’s fault. The attorney can begin working on the case and gather information while it is still fresh. They will fight for your rights and work to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries. You may be entitled to the following:
- Payment for all medical costs associated with the injury from the accident
- Payment for lost wages and income due to being off work due to the accident
- Compensation for future medical care and lost income if the injury results in a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
They can help you receive damages for your injury, but it’s best to begin working with the attorney right away instead of waiting to see what will happen.
What Not to Do
Now that you know the steps to take when you’ve been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, here are a few things to keep in mind not to do:
- Don’t talk to other insurance providers without your attorney
- Don’t admit fault in any way, even partial fault
- Don’t guess at information unless you are certain it is true
- Don’t delay getting help with your case – information can be lost and details forgotten
Make sure you are not held responsible for a car accident that was someone else’s fault. At The Embry Law Firm, we can fight to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries and property damage. Contact our car accident lawyers for a free consultation.