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What To Do After A Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault

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Dealing with the emotional aftermath of an injurious crash that you didn’t cause can be downright frustrating. Suffering as a result of someone else’s carelessness is not an easy reality to process. There is, however, one significant silver lining. If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re in a strong position to be fully compensated for what the at-fault driver has cost you.

If you’re wondering what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault, know that the first step is understanding how the process works – and who can help.

In this article:


What To Do Right After A Car Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault

If your crash just occurred and you’re not sure what immediate actions to take, here are a few suggested steps:

  • Move your vehicle to the side of the road.
  • Check if anyone involved in the accident has suffered injury.
  • Call the authorities to request urgent medical attention and to file a police report.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with others involved in the crash.
  • Note contact information of any witnesses to the wreck.
  • Take pictures and video of the accident scene.

Taking these steps now will help to safeguard your well-being and will help you to build a strong legal case against those who caused you harm. If you consult with an attorney, bring the evidence you’ve collected as lawyers are most empowered to be effective advocates when they have strong evidence upon which to build a winning legal strategy.

How Does Car Insurance Work When You’re Not At Fault?

When you’re not at fault for a car accident, the at-fault party’s insurance provider is generally responsible for covering your expenses related to the crash. However, keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit businesses, so their employees are trained to protect their company’s bottom line. This is one reason why it’s important to work with an attorney in the aftermath of your crash. An attorney can help to secure you all that you’re owed from the at-fault party’s insurance provider.

If proving that you weren’t at fault is going to take some time, you can speak with your attorney about filing a collision claim with your own insurer. A collision claim settlement award will allow you to cover your expenses now, with the expectation that your insurer will recoup this compensation when the at-fault party’s insurance provider settles your claim favorably.

What To Do After A Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault: No-Fault States

If you live in a “no-fault” auto state, your own insurance should cover many of the costs associated with an accident for you and your passengers. This is true even when the cause of an injurious accident is not your fault. The following twelve states have some form of no-fault auto accident laws:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

If you live in one of these states, you’ll need to submit a personal injury protection (PIP) insurance claim with your own insurer to get your expenses covered. This doesn’t mean that the at-fault party can’t be held accountable for their misconduct via a personal injury lawsuit. This is simply the protocol for submitting insurance claims after sustaining injuries and/or property damage in a no-fault state. Note that each state sets its own PIP coverage limits, so your opportunity for this kind of compensation award will be capped according to where you live.

What To Do After A Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault: Uninsured Drivers

If the negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous driver who caused your accident was uninsured, recovering compensation via the insurance claims process gets trickier. Your attorney will need to examine your policy to evaluate your coverage. Depending on the kind of coverage you have, you may need to file an uninsured motorist (UM) coverage claim. If the at-fault party was insured but didn’t have great coverage, you may need to submit both a claim through their provider and an underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) claim through your own provider.

Exploring Your Legal Options If You’ve Been Injured

It’s important to ensure that you aren’t saddled with any of the financial burdens inspired by your crash. If you’re eager to see justice served, filing a lawsuit can help to bring you peace of mind and may deter the at-fault party from engaging in similar wrongdoing moving forward. If you’re worried that you can’t afford legal services, know that most personal injury attorneys take car crash cases on a contingency basis. This means that you’ll only pay a fee for their services if your case wins.

Lawyers understand how to negotiate with savvy insurance adjusters who may be looking for any excuse to devalue or reject your claim. They are trained to investigate the circumstances surrounding an accident to properly determine what caused the crash and who may be held legally responsible for harm resulting from it.

Experienced attorneys with proven track records also know how to successfully advocate on behalf of their clients’ interests during a case’s twists and turns. For example, if the driver who struck you was on their phone at the time of the crash, an attorney can request the cellphone data that will prove this distraction played a part in your accident.

A successful personal injury lawsuit generally results in a sizable damages award. Awards for personal injury damages may include compensation for quantifiable economic losses such as medical bills and lost wages. Additionally, they may include awards for general or non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. If you weren’t at fault for your crash, chances are that you’re in a good position to be awarded significant damages at this time.

Want To Know What To Do After A Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault? An Expert Can Help

You won’t be able to know the value of your case and how strong your case is until your legal situation is assessed by an experienced personal injury attorney. The sooner you schedule a free case evaluation with a local lawyer, the sooner you can start making informed choices about your rights and options.

Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.


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