After a car accident, should I sue the driver or insurance?

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Things to remember...
  • If you’re involved in an accident, you need to gather as much information as possible
  • Seek medical attention if you sustain any injuries
  • Auto insurance protects in case of an accident

While it’s never fun to have a car accident, knowing what to do when one happens can help diminish the stress and anxiety involved. It’s best if you can gather as much information as possible, as soon after the accident as possible.

Provided that you aren’t severely injured, with the immediate concern being hospitalization, you should write down all of the necessary information in a clear and legible manner.

Your auto insurance company will take care of the logistics of the accident claim.

While insurance companies may differ in their approach to getting your vehicle fixed and back to you as seamlessly as possible, working with your insurance agent as needed should ensure a smooth transition.

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What information will my auto insurance agent need?

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At the accident scene, after you’ve called the police, you should do the following:

  • Get your driver’s license, registration, and insurance card ready.
  • Look for any witnesses and ask them to stay to talk to the police.
  • If you’ve called a tow truck company to tow your car, find out the company’s name, location, phone number, the truck driver’s name, and the truck’s license plate.
  • Use your cell phone to take pictures of the scene (photograph the damage to your car and any other car involved, as well as the overall accident scene.
  • Collect information from any other car and driver involved in the accident, including the color, make, model, and license plate number of the other vehicle(s).
  • Write down the other driver’s name, address, phone number and insurance information (insurance company, policy number, name on the policy).
  • Get the names and numbers of any passengers in any car involved in the accident.
  • Make a note of any injuries that anybody has from the accident.

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When should I call my insurance agent?

Call your insurance agent from the accident scene or right after you get back home after you’ve gathered all of the necessary information.

Just as you’ve documented everything at the accident scene, continue to document any phone calls you have with your agent, the other driver, a lawyer, etc.

Write down their name, phone number, date of the call, topics discussed, and actions necessary.

Read through your policy for reference and ask your insurance agent whether you’re entitled to a rental car and, if so, for how long. Your agent will want to see the damaged vehicle to provide an assessment, as well as any medical reports associated with the accident.

Keep detailed records of expenses for everything associated with the accident, including receipts.

Will I still need to sue the other driver?

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A lawsuit may be necessary if you, or another one of your passengers, have been seriously injured in the auto accident.

Many states require insurance companies to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, whereby the insurance company pays medical coverage regardless of which driver caused the accident.

Depending on coverage and extent of injuries, you may find that you need to sue to recoup all of your medical fees.

Besides medical claims, you may need to sue the other driver for damages to property or belongs that were in the car at the time of the accident.

If the loss of your car, even temporarily, leads to a loss of income, you may also decide to sue to get that money back. In any of these cases, consult with an experienced lawyer for specific handling of your case.

Protect yourself down the road! Make sure you’re never on the receiving end of an auto accident lawsuit by driving safely and insuring your vehicles.

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