What Should You Do If You Have an Accident? Car Accident Steps
Whether you're in a vehicle or not, California's highways can be hazardous. You may be injured anytime you are outside. If you are rear-ended in a car accident or are involved in a more serious accident, knowing what to do may help you make the best decisions. This article will aid you in seeking the medical attention you need and the best chance of fighting the insurance company. This article goes over what you need to do after a car accident as well as the next steps with filing a claim with the insurance company.
When purchasing automobile insurance, it's important you read all the insurance information. You want to make sure that before signing the auto insurance policy, you have the right amount of coverage, policy limits, and deductibles. After obtaining the auto policy, look over the declaration page. It includes data about the drivers covered, the vehicles insured, coverage limits and deductibles, as well as other critical information. One important aspect of insurance is whether you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. In some cases, this is crucial and can make all the difference. Make certain the insurance coverage is correct and that you received the insurance you wanted. If you are involved in a car accident, then it's likely you will need to look into making an insurance claim. It is important to familiarize yourself with your automobile insurance policy prior to submitting a claim. This is where our car accident lawyers can help you make sure everything is done correctly with the car accident steps! Call (559) 777-6587 for a free consultation or click here to make an appointment.
What to Do in Case of Accident: What should I do if I am involved in a car crash?
If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as soon as it is safe to do so. Check that anyone in your vehicle is okay. Once you are sure that everyone is okay, turn your hazard lights on and call the police. If you have flares or reflective material, you can place them outside; but only do this if you are physically able. Do not drive your car from the scene of the accident. This can be used against you and result in criminal charges filed if you were the one at fault. If you can move and walk, it's important to know to take pictures of the damage. Whether it is damage to the vehicles or personal injury to you or another driver. Following the accident, wait for the police to come to the scene and exchange car insurance information with the other driver. Thereafter, let your insurance company know about any bodily injury and the accident report information.
Frequently asked questions are listed below.
Is the car insured outside of California?
In many states and territories, as well as the U.S. territories and Canada, the majority of automobile insurance policies supply protection. California, like many other states, territories, and countries, has financial responsibility legislation forcing motorists to maintain adequate automobile insurance to cover losses resulting from car ownership or operation. If you are in a state or territory where financial responsibility requirements are higher than your policy limits, your company will cover the excess. Your company may not offer automobile coverage in Mexico, so if you plan to drive there with your car, purchase it separately. Before you leave the country, examine your out-of-state coverage.
The California Vehicle Code sets forth the state's financial responsibility law starting with Section 16020. Among other things, it requires drivers to be able to pay for damages resulting from motor vehicle ownership or operation.
A driver must show financial responsibility of at least $15,000 for each individual injured or killed in an accident, $30,000 for injury or death of two or more individuals in the same accident, and $5,000 in property damage on each occasion. You might be pulled over by a peace officer if you violate a traffic law, or if you're involved in an accident. To prove financial responsibility, you may provide the DMV with a vehicle registration card that includes the name of your insurance company and policy number. This insurance must always be readily accessible when driving. For more facts, contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
After I file a claim with my insurance company, what happens?
Car insurance companies will request thorough details about the accident, such as the location of the accident. In order to complete the auto insurance claim, they may require a written or recorded statement. It's important to speak with an attorney before filing an insurance claim. Other motorists and witnesses may also be interviewed as part of the investigation. You must provide documentation of your losses (injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) if you have medical payments or uninsured motorist coverage.
What should I do if the insurance company does not contact me?
The insurance company should get in touch with you shortly after you report a loss, unless there are extenuating circumstances, in which case it may take longer than normal. If you don't hear from anyone, ask your agent or insurance company for help. If they are unresponsive or you believe there is an unreasonable delay in settling your claim, contact our lawyers.
How is the vehicle damage evaluated by the insurance company?
After the initial inspection, the adjuster or appraiser writes an estimate. The adjuster or appraiser usually inspects the vehicle damage. During the repair process, the shop contacts the insurer to obtain approval for additional repair costs if further damage is detected. If the damage is relatively minor, the insurer may ask you to submit competitive repair estimates. An adjuster may be sent out to re-inspect the damages if they are relatively minor. It is your responsibility to sign and approve the shop to repair your vehicle when you are satisfied with the final estimate and repair.
What is the company liable for on a physical damage claim under a standard auto policy?
In general, the company will pay the following amounts:
Review your policy to see what is covered. Make sure to note exclusions and limitations. For example, enhanced aftermarket stereo equipment, phones, and tires and wheels are usually not covered unless they are part of the original equipment installed by the manufacturer (OEM). Additional coverage may be available for such items for an additional cost.
What is the actual cash value (ACV)?
In California, actual cash value refers to fair market value. Unless otherwise defined in the policy, actual cash value refers to the dollar amount that a prospective buyer and seller would be willing to pay for an item, as determined by a qualified appraiser. Fair market value is the amount that a prospective buyer and seller would be willing to pay for an asset, given that they are acting in their own best interests and are free of undue pressure to transact.
What is an appraisal?
An appraisal provision is frequently included in standard policies, which can be advantageous if there is a dispute over the amount of the insurance company's total loss settlement for your vehicle. You can find out if your policy includes it by reading your policy. Either of you may demand an appraisal by either of you. Each party selects an appraiser, and the appraisers select a neutral mediator. If the appraisers can't agree on a figure, the umpire does. If two parties agree on a figure, it is binding. Each party pays for their own appraiser; the umpire's fee is split between them.
How is the check or draft prepared?
The check may be issued in the name of the insured and any lienholder, such as a bank or financing company. The business may also include the repair facility as a payee if the car is considered repairable. Who is responsible for the outstanding balance on a car loan? The borrower is responsible for the balance on his loan, even if the automobile is stolen or destroyed beyond repair. Even if your claim payment is less than the loan balance, the lender will expect you to pay the balance. Gap coverage, which is frequently referred to as 'gap' insurance, is usually available to protect against this situation.
Am I eligible for a free rental while my car is being fixed?
Yes, if rental vehicle coverage was purchased to cover losses. Before you rent a vehicle, review your policy to ensure that you are adequately covered. Policy limits vary, but the company pays a specific amount per day for a set number of days. Losses are covered up to a specific amount per day for a specified period of time, with the coverage ending either when your vehicle is repaired, the loss is paid, or after the specified duration.
If your vehicle is stolen, the policy may automatically cover transportation expenses. Be sure to read your policy. This coverage begins 48 hours after the theft and ends when your vehicle is recovered, the loss is compensated for, or after a set period of time, whichever occurs first.
How much is the salvage worth?
Salvage companies make an offer on a vehicle's leftover parts to determine the vehicle's complete loss value. The company may accept the highest bid on the salvage or refuse it. You may deduct the salvage value from your settlement to buy back your vehicle if you keep your damaged car. If you decide to keep the salvaged car, you must file a salvage certificate with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
What is subrogation?
Your insurance company may recover the amount it paid for your damages from a third party in subrogation. For example, if another party is responsible for damaging your vehicle and you have a collision claim, your insurer will ask the other party to reimburse the money it paid on your claim. You must cooperate with your insurance company's subrogation efforts. You also cannot jeopardize the company's right to recover damages. For example, you cannot sign an agreement releasing the other party in exchange for payment of your deductible.
What should you do if you are sued because of an accident? (A Summons and Complaint are served on you.)
Immediately notify your agent and insurance company of the accident. Keep a copy for yourself and send the original documents to your company. Do not speak with anyone other than an authorized representative of your company about the incident. If the lawsuit results from a covered loss, your company will provide legal defense.
Is the car recently purchased covered?
Most insurance policies provide automatic coverage for a vehicle that replaces one already insured. Normally, the coverage is the same as that on your previous vehicle. Contact your broker-agent as soon as possible if you have a replacement vehicle. In order to obtain additional coverage, you may be required to notify your agent or company within a specific time period.
Your current vehicle coverage may be automatically extended to cover any new vehicles you purchase. There are usually specific conditions to be fulfilled.
Some automatic coverage provisions require that the insured notify the insurer within 30 days of acquiring the new vehicle if he or she wishes to have it covered under their existing automobile policy. Be aware that some policy notification periods are less than 30 days. Some insurance companies have notification periods of 14 days or less.
A vehicle that is not reported to the insurer within the specified time period is uninsured. An insured's verbal notice to his or her insurance agent may be sufficient to trigger automatic coverage for a newly acquired vehicle, unless there is a specific notice procedure specified in the insurance policy.
An individual who drives an automobile and causes damage to another vehicle or property is responsible for paying for the repairs.
California has a long history of automobile insurance fraud. The most common frauds involve automobile property and automobile accidents.
Dishonest autobody and repair shops and/or insureds may employ a variety of illegal or questionable techniques in this type of fraud:
It is critical for consumers to carefully review all paperwork from auto body and repair businesses in order to avoid being scammed. In addition, consumers should be wary of any auto body or repair firm that refers them to medical or legal offices. This may be a sign of 'capping.' Capping (a felony in California) is the illegal referral of clients to legal offices in exchange for a fee.
Staged automobile accidents, which are actually non-crashes, typically follow one of several well-established procedures:
When you've been in a car accident, be wary of unsolicited referrals to a body shop, law firm, or medical office. Accident rings and cappers actively seek other people in the community to create accidents. Accidents that exist solely on paper (paper accidents) are becoming more popular among fraudsters as a result of their reduced danger of physical injury and decreased likelihood of police involvement.