You’re cruising down the interstate listening to your favorite radio station. Out of the blue, your phone starts to buzz, notifying you of a call from your mother. You reach down to answer the phone when suddenly you see brake lights flash before your eyes. You grab your steering wheel and slam your brakes as hard as possible, but it’s too late. There’s a sickening crash as your car rear ends the vehicle in front of you.
Being involved in a car accident is a horrifying thought all on its own, but what happens if it’s your fault? Even if you caused the accident, you should immediately follow standard collision procedures. If you’re able, get out of your vehicle and check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Then, do the same for the driver of the other car. If there are any serious injuries, ensure those are taken care of first.
Next, exchange information with the other driver. This information would include name, phone number, address, insurance carrier, and policy. Then, call in the accident to the police station by dialing either 311 or 911, depending on your city’s guidelines. Finally, once the dust settles, call in the accident immediately to your insurance agent. Be honest and concise in your description of the event.
No Fault Versus At-Fault States
Where the car accident occured will determine whether or not you are responsible for all of the damages. Most states are considered “at fault” states, meaning the insurance of the driver that caused the crash is financially responsible for any damages to the driver, passengers, and vehicle. However, other states are considered “no fault” states and cover all parties regardless of fault. This is possible because “no fault” states require all vehicle owners to carry coverage that protects them from personal injury claims in the aftermath of an accident. This coverage ensures that all parties are provided for financially after an accident.
If you were found more than 50 percent at-fault for the accident, it’s very likely that your car insurance rates will rise. However, if you purchased “accident forgiveness” ahead of time, these rates will likely lower if you go long enough without another incident.
While causing a car accident will likely result in financial and physical consequences, it is not the end of the world. Remember to take deep breaths and treat the situation with dignity and honesty. Hopefully all parties only departed the scene of the accident with minor injuries to themselves and their vehicles. Take a step back, breathe, and be thankful that you’re covered by a good insurance policy. They’re here to help in times like these.
If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident, contact an auto accident lawyer, like an auto accident lawyer in Charlottesville, VA, to start looking at your case today.
Thanks to Martin Wren, P.C. for their insight into what to do if you are at-fault in a car accident.