Have you just had a car accident?
Luckily, things worked out good in your favor and you managed to get away with little to no bruises. However, the more important question that usually follows after an accident is: “What happens next?”
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What to Do When a Car Accident Happens?
Like most of us, if things go well, you might not even call the police to report that an accident happened. If you come to terms with the other party, not even a report will be filled. However, this is only in cases when no damage is done and nobody is even slightly injured. In other cases, you should inform the police and file a report.
We have to remind you that filling a report in a legal obligation in most states. In every state the laws are different and whenever damage of property, injury or death happens you’ll either have to report immediately or in a period of 10 to 30 days. If you fail to report a car accident, some states may fine you or suspend your driver’s license. To protect yourself and save some time and energy of facing the consequences, we do advise you that filling a report is essential.
Immediately after a car crash happens, people usually are in shock and don’t think clearly. They might not even be aware of the damage that happened because at that moment they had their own life at stake. For that reason, following certain rules that need to be done when a car accident happens should be done no matter what.
- First and Foremost – Call the Police!
Calling the police in some states is required by law whenever a car accident happens. Sometimes even though the damage was minimal, the police will come and they’ll take a report figuring out how things happened in the first place. The police are going to gather this info to write the report:
- Personal information of the people in the accident;
- Date and time when the accident happened;
- Concrete damage of the vehicles included in the accident;
- Statements from any witnesses;
- Note any injuries;
- Description concerning the place where the accident happened.
However, sometimes the police won’t come to the scene if there is minor damage, and it’ll be up to you to write and file a report. So, if you call the police and they don’t come to the scene, then make sure you file a report as soon as possible.
- File a Report
Filing a report can be done if you visit the local DMV or a police station. There you can find the specific form for your state because as the laws on accidents vary, the forms vary as well. Below we share with you some crucial steps you should bear in mind before filing a report.
Step 1 – Collect all the information that the police would if they came (listed above).
Step 2 – Take pictures with your phone of the damage.
Step 3 – Video some witnesses for evidence.
Step 4 – If the other party claims guilty, make sure they sign a statement.
Step 5 – Check out if there are any nearby cameras at the place of the accident.
You should always file a report if the other party is uninsured, as quick as possible after the accident. Include all the details possible in the report you’re going to do and make sure you keep a copy of that for yourself. It’s very important to have a copy of the report in case it gets lost or there are mistakes that need to be revised.
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Not all states provide easy access to your accident report. However in some states when the police do the report, you can view your report online. In Texas for example you can get a copy of it by using the TxDOT crash report. TxDOT is a system for filing crash reports that police officers in Texas use. This way you’ll be enabled to view and get a copy of your crash report for yourself.
By checking in your crash report you’ll see what exactly went in the report and if it can be used in your favor or against you. Normally reports aren’t used in court, however, they are used by insurance companies to decide liability.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
After you file a report, or even at the scene of the accident, you should call your insurance company and also file a claim with your insurer. The report will be a strong piece of evidence about what your insurance is going to cover or not. This is also connected to the type of insurance you have, however, the report in addition to the accident will always be valuable. You can either make the insurance claim online or through a mobile app, providing all the information about you and the other party, including whose fault it was.
Once we take everything into consideration, calling the police filing a report after a car accident is one of the most important things that you should do no matter how the damage or injuries. Sometimes it’s even wiser to file a report even if there is no damage, in order to protect yourself against being fined or having your driver’s license suspended.
To file a report yourself just make sure to document all the details of the accident and go to the closest police station to fill out a form. The forms are different in every state and you can make revisions within 10 days. Your report will be further used by your insurance company to decide what exactly they’ll cover from the overall damage.
Now that you know all the details that come after making an accident, we hope that you’ll be able to have it all together and act upon it if anything happens in the near future. Or if you already have had a car crash, you know all the steps you should follow. Good luck!