Some general tips for what to do after a car accident (disclaimer: every situation is different, and these tips are not meant to provide you with legal advice. Consult with a lawyer about your situation, see #6):
I learned the importance of many of these tips from my own experience. Two years into law school, I was in my first (and only) car accident. I left my home around 6am. Only a few minutes from my house, I had just turned left onto a highway when a car in front of me slammed on his brakes and proceeded to make an illegal u-turn across four lanes of traffic. I hit my brakes too, but I slid into the back left side of his truck before he made it across my lane of travel.
Thankfully I was not seriously hurt. But, the whole front left side of my car was damaged. I knew just from looking at the damage that my car was likely totaled. I remember sitting in my car, in disbelief about what had happened, until the other driver ran up to my car door and asked me if I was "ok."
He apologized over and over again--telling me that he wanted to avoid the traffic ahead so he had tried to make the illegal u-turn. He admitted to me that he had slammed on his brakes and that he knew there was no way I could have avoided the accident. Then he said something that I believed at the time, that I now know I shouldn't have: "Don't worry about the damage, I have great insurance--they'll take care of everything."
As you might be able to guess, the great insurance company did not take care of everything--or anything for that matter. It denied coverage for the accident. The adjuster told me (incorrectly) that the following driver is always at fault, even if the other driver made a sudden and unexpected stop--or tried to make an illegal u-turn. My own insurance company said they disagreed, but that it wasn't worth their time to dispute it. I ended up paying for everything out-of-pocket.
Don't make the same mistakes I did. We deal with car accidents and insurance companies on a daily basis. Let us steer you clear of the potential pitfalls and help you get back on your feet.
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