It may not be obvious what the right steps are once a motor vehicle accident has occurred. For many millennial drivers, the complicated process of accident fault and insurance claims may be a total mystery.
Understanding the personal injury process
After a motor vehicle collision, there are a lot of unknowns for the insurance companies dealing with your claim. It is essential that you understand the steps to report an accident and how it affects your insurance policy claim:
- Assess the danger to yourself and other drivers: As soon as the accident occurs, you need to assess how much danger you’re in. It is always a safe bet to immediately call 911. This call will dispatch the police and an ambulance to a scene. Given the nature of shock, you may not feel the extent of your injuries for minutes, hours or days after the shock has worn off.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident: You have a legal responsibility to remain at the scene of an accident. If it doesn’t pose a hazard, you should document the vehicles immediately preceding an accident. If the placement of your cars poses a hazard to yourself and other drivers, it may be wise to move to a safe location or move your vehicles (after you’ve documented their placement after the crash).
- Make a police report: You can’t expect the other driver to be truthful in their statement for how the crash occurred. It is vital to filing an insurance claim that you include all the details of how the accident occurred. These statements will form the basis of what the police on the scene put in their report. You should also record the insurance information, driver’s license, license plate number, and address of the other driver.
- Receive medical attention: The best thing you can do to document your injuries after an accident is to seek immediate medical help. This hospital report and subsequent physician reports are crucial to a personal injury claim.
- At-fault states: Missouri is an at-fault state when it comes to motor vehicle collisions. This means that the driver responsible for the collision, the person who is ‘at fault,’ will be responsible for those damages caused by their error. The responsible party’s insurance will be the one that provides compensation for these damages. In some cases, both drivers can share fault (partial fault) in an accident. The insurance companies will use the police reports and the drivers’ claims and documentation to determine what percentage of responsibility each party owes.
Pursuing compensation for injuries and damages
Your injuries from even a minor car accident could stay with you for years to come. If you’re dealing with the bodily and financial damage from a car accident, you must contact an attorney specializing in personal injury claims right away to pursue the compensation you’ll need.