After an accident, it’s important for all involved drivers to report the collision to their respective insurers. This should be done as soon as possible. Drivers should also report the crash to the police. And they should obtain details of the accident, including the police report and the names of any witnesses. Finally, they should exchange insurance information with other motorists involved in the crash.
After a claim is made, the insurer assigns a claims adjuster to it. The adjuster will investigate to determine:
- Who was at fault for the accident
- How much repairs will cost
- What other losses will be covered by insurance
If there were multiple parties involved, insurers will determine who is at fault for the crash. In some states, accident victims recover compensation for injuries and property damage from the responsible driver’s insurer. In others, damages for minor injuries are paid by each driver’s own insurer, regardless of who actually caused the accident.
The insurance company responsible for paying will make an offer of compensation for car accident damage. Drivers may have the option to accept the offered settlement or to file a personal injury lawsuit against the motorist at fault for the collision.
If a driver’s own insurer is paying out compensation, the driver will need to pay any car insurance deductibles. And the compensation will be capped at policy limits. Depending on how much coverage a driver had, the insurer may pay for:
- Repair of a vehicle or the car’s fair market value if it is declared a total loss
- Rental car reimbursement
- Lost wages
- Medical payments
- Repayment of any remaining auto loan balance if the vehicle is worth less than the amount owed