Getting in a car accident is something you never expect to happen to you. There are over 6 million car crashes in the United States every year. No matter how cautious you are, you can’t control how other people drive. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and change everything.
Crystal balls showing the future don’t exist. There’s no way to prepare yourself physically or emotionally for a car accident – even a minor one. The good news is you can prepare yourself financially in several ways.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we want to provide four critical measures to protect yourself from financial hardships. Let’s dive in.
1. Don’t Skimp on Insurance
Insurance coverage determines almost everything that proceeds a car accident. This includes property damage, medical bills, recovery, and much, much more. No one likes paying a high insurance premium every month, we get it. But in the event you’re involved in an accident, having minimal coverage will come back to bite you.
You want to have the most comprehensive insurance coverage you can afford. Talk to your insurance agent to understand the level of coverage you have. If necessary, you might be able to raise the deductible for lower monthly premiums – in exchange for better coverage.
You may also want to explore options for excess/umbrella coverage. This will come into play if you sustain a catastrophic injury. The risk of catastrophic injuries is small – meaning these policies are usually affordable.
2. Look into Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage
Americans in most states are required by law to have auto insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone abides by this law. Approximately one in eight American drivers are uninsured.
When an uninsured driver causes an accident, it can be a massive headache for everyone involved – especially the victim. If you live in a no-fault state, the ramifications will not be as severe if an uninsured driver hits you. In these states, each driver is required to file a claim with their own insurance after an accident – regardless of who is at fault. There are currently 12 states in the USA categorized as no-fault states.
If you are in one of the other 38 states, you won’t be so lucky. Earning compensation for your damages will be extremely difficult. You’re wise to consider uninsured and underinsured coverage in your plan. Uninsured and underinsured coverage protects you if the at-fault driver has no insurance or minimal coverage.
An uninsured and underinsured plan will protect you from the high costs of hospital bills, recovery, property damage, lost wages, and everything else you incurred from the accident. This coverage also protects you if you get hit by a driver while walking, biking, or riding as a passenger in someone else’s car.
Paying a premium to cover someone else who doesn’t have insurance isn’t fair, we understand. But this is just how it works. We recommend getting the best uninsured and underinsured coverage you can find.
3. Have an Immediate Plan
Knowing what to do after a car accident can be tough. You may be in shock, injured, or angry after the collision. It’s important to understand the proper steps following a car accident. The actions you take immediately after the accident can have a big impact on the subsequent outcome.
Here are the first steps to take after an accident:
- Get to a safe spot
- Document the accident with pictures
- Call the authorities to file a report
- Get checked by the medical staff
- Exchange contact/insurance information with the other driver
- Collect more evidence – eyewitness contact information, road conditions, signage, etc.
- Contact a car accident attorney
It’s easy for your mind to go blank after a traumatic experience like a car accident. This is why it’s important to have a step-by-step protocol in the back of your mind. The evidence you collect here will be extremely important as you build your claim.
4. Understand the Importance of a Car Accident Lawyer
At the end of the day, the legal assistance you seek out will determine what happens next. Keep in mind, insurance companies have one goal: protect their bottom line. Even if the accident was clearly the other party’s fault, the insurance companies will do everything to avoid fairly compensating you. They have no problem resorting to sneaky tricks and twisting your words to shift blame onto you.
This is where a car accident attorney will come in.
These attorneys specialize in negotiating with insurance companies and earning the maximum compensation for victims. Representing yourself in a car accident/personal injury claim will almost certainly end with a low ball settlement.
Now, some people believe that hiring an attorney will be too expensive. What they don’t realize is car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement. This means they take a percentage of the total settlement AFTER they win the case. They will not charge victims a penny upfront to take their claim.
Additionally, a good attorney won’t take a case unless they think they can win. In other words, anyone can afford to hire a good car accident lawyer.
The Next Step
Being involved in a car accident is a nightmare situation. If the accident was caused by the other party – the law is on your side. However, there are a few boxes to check before the law can truly work in your favor.
Your goal after a car accident is to focus on recovery and recoup your losses. By taking the measures above, you’ll be in a good place to protect yourself from financial harm.
Author Bio:- Samuel R. Carl is the co-founder of Midwest Injury Lawyers, a full-service personal injury law firm that specializes in serious accidents involving car accidents, bike accidents, nursing home abuse, medical negligence. With over 10 years of experience in the personal injury law field, Sam spent years protecting the rights of injured victims and their families, securing millions of dollars for his clients through jury verdicts and settlements.