By Chandra Cunningham, DC
Here you are driving along, paying attention to the road in front of you when all of a sudden, you hear a screeeech and then you feel it—BOOM! What just happened? You realize your vehicle was struck by another vehicle. You feel stunned and your emotions are going haywire. What do you do?
First, make sure you are okay and the well-being of any other passengers in your vehicle. Before leaving your vehicle, your car should be in a safe place and check the traffic. Check on the other driver and anyone else involved in the accident.
If you do not want the police involved, exchange car insurance information and driver’s license information with all the drivers involved in the accident. Write down the description of the other vehicles and the license plate numbers. If there are witnesses, write down their contact information. Take pictures of the accident, if it is safe to do so. If the cars are blocking traffic or in an unsafe area, move the vehicles to a safer place. Then call and report the accident to your insurance company.
If you do want the police and/or EMT present, then call 911. Do not discuss the accident or who was at fault with the other driver. If there are witnesses to the accident, ask if they will stay to talk to the police. While waiting for the police, take pictures of the accident and get the contact information of everyone involved.
Tip #1: Use the camera function on your phone as much as possible. Take a picture of the insurance cards/ driver’s licenses/ car license plates, etc. It is easier to take photos than to write down all that info.
Getting your vehicle fixed can be frustrating so have some patience. If the accident was NOT your fault, the at-fault’s insurance company will take responsibility in repairing your vehicle. Some insurance companies will have their agents prepare estimates to repair your vehicle after an inspection of the damages. They may write out a check to you or to the auto-body shop that will repair your vehicle. When repairs are being performed and more damage is found, the auto body shop will contact the insurance agent to get a supplement to repair those damages.
If the accident WAS your fault, then hopefully you have comprehensive or full coverage that will cover the repair costs in getting your vehicle fixed. If you have a deductible, then that is your responsibility in paying it. If you do not have full coverage, then you are personally responsible in all of the repair costs.
If this is a Hit and Run accident or the other driver does not have insurance, then this is when your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage comes into play. The cost of the repairs are paid by your insurance company, up to your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist policy limits.
Tip #2: Reserve a rental car in advance for the time your vehicle is getting fixed; sometimes supply is limited.
If you have been injured from the accident, seek medical help sooner than later. There is a statute of limitations on how much time you have to report medical claims. Your insurance adjuster should help and advise you on your rights. Depending on what state you live in, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (Med-Pay) will help pay your medical bills. For example, Kentucky and Florida are PIP states. Your insurance company will pay your medical bills up to PIP policy limits and they will then be reimbursed by the at-fault’s insurance company. For non-PIP states, you can add Med-Pay to your auto insurance policy that will then help pay your medical bills up to the policy limit. If you do not have PIP or Med-Pay on your policy, then your healthcare provider might treat you by billing your health insurance company or by a lien. The lien is a legal document stating the healthcare provider will be paid during settlement.
Tip #3: Try to add the highest amount of PIP or Med-Pay that you can afford. In Kentucky the PIP minimum limit is $10,000 and if the hospital does imaging studies, depending on how many and what studies are performed, most or all of the $10,000 can be used in that one visit.
Tip #4: When you are researching for a medical clinic to get help with your injuries, look for a clinic with different providers in one location. This will limit your having to travel to different clinics to receive your care. At Chambers Medical Group, each office has medical doctors, chiropractors and therapists. Some offices also provide massage therapy.
If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.
Chambers Medical Group has car accident medical clinics in the following locations: