Vehicle collisions occur every day. In fact, it’s estimated that the average driver will be involved in some form of car accident approximately every 18 years.
If you’ve never been in an automobile accident or it’s been a long time since your last one, you may be unprepared for handling the situation. With that in mind, we’ve created this guide to help you know what to do after a car accident, not your fault or otherwise.
Involved in an Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault? Follow These Steps
Accidents happen suddenly and unexpectedly, and no one ever thinks it will happen to them. You may pride yourself on your defensive driving abilities, but some situations culminate into a car accident, not at fault for any negligence on your part.
So, what happens if you are not at fault in a car accident?
If you’re scouring the internet, asking, “I was in a car accident, not my fault, now what?” the usual protocol for states with at-fault laws requires you to file a claim against the negligent party’s insurance.
A common question victims ask themselves is, “what to do if I’ve been injured in a car accident, not my fault, and I can’t afford the medical bills?” Since the fault lies with a third-party, it will be their insurance companies responsibility to remediate any property damage and medical fees. If you are not at fault in a car accident, you shouldn’t be responsible for expenses due to someone else’s negligence.
Here are the steps on what to do after an accident that is not your fault, to ensure you’re not stuck with the bill for another’s mistake.
Call the Police
The sudden impact of a collision can leave you in a dazed state, leaving you confused, asking, “I’ve been involved in a car accident, not my fault, what to do?”
Remaining calm is priority number one. The next action you should take is to inform the police. Even if you’re not at fault, fleeing the scene of an accident is against the law. If the at-fault driver speeds away, you need to remain at the scene until law enforcement officers arrive.
While it’s not necessary to have a police report for minor fender-benders, a police report will be counted as evidence, helping to develop your case for an insurance claim. If the accident results in an injury, or worse, a fatality, it’s a criminal offense not to report the accident.
Accidents that don’t involve injuries but obstruct traffic flow should be moved to the side of the road if the vehicles are operable. If you can’t safely move the cars, you should deploy flares and hazard lights until the police can secure the location.
If you find yourself panicking after a car accident, wondering what to do because this is not my fault, the key is to remain calm. Even if police intervention isn’t necessary, it doesn’t hurt to report the situation to ensure the safety of all involved before leaving the scene of an accident, not at fault.
Exchange Relevant Information
After you’ve informed the police of the situation, the next step you should take is to obtain the relevant contact information of the other drivers involved in the collision. If you’re not at fault, knowing the negligent driver’s insurance information is vital to cover the damages you’ve suffered from their actions.
Exchange the following details:
- Names, addresses, and contact numbers of all parties involved
- Insurance company contact information and the drivers’ policy numbers
- Driver licenses and vehicle plate numbers
Accidents are confusing ordeals. Even if you’re certain that you’re not at fault, you may not be aware if there are more than two vehicles involved in the collision.
By collecting this information, you can expedite the process of securing a claim against the responsible party’s insurance.
After you’ve secured everyone’s relevant information, the next step is to record the event and factors that led up to the accident. While having a mobile phone is great, you should also consider carrying a notebook and pen in your car, as electronic devices have a habit of breaking or running out of battery.
Because human memory can be fickle, you will want to take notes on the condition of the road, the placement of the vehicles, and weather effects that could impair vision.
If you have a camera or phone on hand, ensure you take photographs and videos of the scene. Take special care to include skid marks, any injuries, damage to vehicles and property, as well as any information that can help the police or insurance company as evidence.
Gather Witness Information and Statements
One of the most overlooked steps when learning what to do after a car accident, not your fault, or if you leave in a “no-fault” state, is to gather witness contact information. Unless you secure their details and a statement about what they saw, they can quickly disappear, or their memory can become fuzzy.
However, while you’re gathering these details, take care not to discuss the event with anyone other than law enforcement and medical personnel. Our attorneys say that if you speak too freely around a witness, you may let slip that you’re liable for a portion of the accident, which can destroy your claim.
Contact Thomas J Henry
If you or a loved one is the victim of an automobile accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to pay for any damages or medical injuries. Instead of worrying about what to do after a car accident, not your fault, contact Thomas J Henry. Our Texas auto accident attorneys have the experience and expertise needed to get you the compensation you deserve.