When you get into your car, you typically don’t anticipate that you’ll be involved in a car accident. But unfortunately, they can happen to anyone, and they do every day. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of mortality for people aged 1-54 in the United States. It is very likely that everyone will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Whether it is something as innocuous as a fender bender or something much more serious, most drivers will inevitably experience this scary situation.
Even those who are safe, cautious drivers cannot completely avoid the possibility of a car accident. Defensive driving can significantly help lower your chance of causing a car accident, but it cannot account for others on the road who are not driving carefully. So, what happens if you are not at fault in a car accident? In this post, our Shreveport personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will inform you of what to do after a car accident that is not your fault.
Involved in an Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault?
The accident wasn’t your fault. Are you completely off the hook? What do you do next? The answer is the same for any car wreck, whether you are to blame or not.
The first thing you should do immediately after an accident is to make sure you and your passengers, if any, are not injured. If there are no evident injuries, make sure no one else involved in the accident received serious injuries. If someone does appear to be injured, call for medical attention immediately. In the case that no one is seriously injured, the next thing to do would be to move your car to a safe spot, somewhere out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Once everyone is safe, call the police. This is true even for the most minor accidents. The police will provide a report that will be necessary in filing your claim.
Next, gather the contact information of all parties involved in the collision, including potential witnesses. You’ll need to get their phone numbers, full names, and driver’s license information.
While still at the scene, it is important to document as much evidence as possible. Take as many pictures as you can if you have access to a camera. Include the whole scene, all involved cars, property damage, and any obvious injuries.
The next step is to get in touch with your insurance provider. Many insurance companies have reporting requirements, so you’ll want to report the accident as soon as possible. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to submit a claim.
Finally, speak with a Louisiana car accident lawyer. It is critical to have an attorney there for as much of the process as possible. DO NOT talk with another driver’s insurance company until you have spoken with your attorney.
How Does Car Insurance Work When You Are Not at Fault?
After an accident, the safest bet is to call your own vehicle insurance provider. They can inform you of what sort of personal injury, collision, and medical expense coverage you have. Your insurance company should cover any necessary repairs and medical expenses, then deal with the at-fault driver’s insurer to recover reimbursement. Because everything is invoiced straight to your insurance company, you won’t have to interact with the other driver’s insurance company. This may be a stress-free alternative for you.
You also have the option of filing a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier. Louisiana is an at-fault, or “tort”, state. This means that their insurance company will cover the cost of your automobile repairs and damages if their driver is found to be at fault.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
You may believe that because the accident wasn’t your fault, everything will work out in your favor. This is not always the case. There is a very likely chance you will need to establish your innocence. As such, you have the right to contact a lawyer if you were in a vehicle accident that was not your fault.
While legal advice is not required, an automobile accident lawyer will be able to assist you in filing a claim or lawsuit against the negligent party. Getting into an automobile accident as a consequence of someone else’s irresponsibility can often cause a lot of stress, not to mention the possibility of injury. After an accident, you won’t have to worry about managing everything alone. Instead, your attorney will take care of the legal procedure for you.
At Gordon & Gordon, our Shreveport car accident attorneys can answer all of your questions, explore your legal options, and keep you informed about your case throughout the process.
The negligent person should bear the consequences of their actions and compensate you for your losses. A lawyer recognizes this and will work to make sure that they do. Your attorney may do the following to show proof that you suffered as a result of the other driver’s carelessness: (1) obtain a police report detailing the circumstances of the collision; (2) speak with witnesses and obtain evidence; (3) use expert testimony and accident reconstruction professionals to your advantage; and (4) consult your physician and obtain copies of your current medical records.
What Happens If I’m At Fault in a Car Accident?
We’ve discussed what to do after a car accident that is not your fault, but what happens if you’re at fault in a car accident? Like we mentioned before, Louisiana is an at-fault state, so if you caused the accident. You and your insurance company are now liable for any damages. The other driver’s insurance company will likely file a claim against you for any damages to their vehicle. Though their insurance company will pay for the damages, they will seek repayment from your insurance carrier. When your insurance policy renews, the most likely consequence is that your rates will increase.
If you are at fault in a vehicle accident that results in injuries, you may be held accountable for even greater damages. For example, you and your insurance company will likely be liable for their medical costs or lost earnings while they recuperate. You also become vulnerable to a personal injury lawsuit. If this is the case, you’ll certainly need legal counsel. Your attorney will assist you in a number of ways, including negotiating a fair settlement with the other motorist.
You shouldn’t wait until you’re already served with a lawsuit before contacting an experienced attorney, though. Instead, you need to get legal counsel as soon as possible. Having a personal injury attorney on your side from the start can help you navigate the insurance and legal processes much more smoothly than you could on your own.
Wondering What To Do After a Car Accident That is Not Your Fault? Call Gordon & Gordon Right Away!
If you are currently involved in the fallout of an accident that was not your fault (or even if it was), be sure to contact Gordon & Gordon right away. Our Louisiana personal injury attorneys have been helping people in the Shreveport, Bossier, and Mansfield areas for decades, and we can help you too.
Give us a call at 318-716-HELP or send us a message about your case to request a consultation at any of our convenient locations in Northwest Louisiana. If it’s compassionate legal counsel and peace of mind you’re looking for, get Gordon & Gordon today!