What To Do After A Car Accident Not Your Fault (2024)

Sarah Edwards

Contributor

Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.

Editor

Read in 4 mins

Car accidents can traumatize you physically and mentally. You might need medical attention. Your mind may experience anger, shock, and confusion. While it may seem unfair, knowing what to do after a car accident, not your fault, can impact your legal right to pursue injury compensation.

The steps you take will come from several sources. State law requires you to perform certain actions after a crash. You need to take care of your health. And you should gather information that you can use in your injury and property damage claims.

Steps to Take After a Crash Caused by Someone Else

After a collision, you should gather your thoughts and stay calm. The first few steps after a crash should come by instinct.

You should stop your car at the accident scene and check on everyone involved, including yourself. After checking on everyone in your car, check on the occupants of the other vehicle and any pedestrians or cyclists who might have been hit.

In some states, you must assist anyone injured in the crash. This duty usually applies even though you did not cause the crash.

Finally, you must contact the police to report an accident that causes death or injury. Some even require you to report property damage. To err on the safe side, you should always contact the police. Contacting the police will create a record of the crash.

When you finish these mandatory steps, you can move on to what to do after a car accident, not your fault, to protect your health and legal rights.

Cooperate With the Crash Investigation

The officers who respond to your call will assist crash victims and investigate the accident. The investigation could include:

  • Talking to the drivers
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Taking photos and videos of the scene
  • Examining vehicle damage
  • Measuring skid marks

The officers will summarize their investigation in an accident report. This report will include the information crash victims need to file claims, such as names, addresses, and insurance policy numbers. The crash report will also include the officers’ explanation of what happened, including any traffic violations drivers committed.

When the police talk to you, give your side of the story. Stick to the facts and do not lie. Having your version of the story in the crash report will give you a path for how to dispute a car accident fault if an insurer tries to blame you.

Seek Appropriate Medical Attention

You should seek medical attention appropriate for the injuries you sustained. If you suffered incapacitating injuries, you may need to ask for an ambulance. Incapacitating injuries include major fractures, head injuries, and spine injuries, but you should request an ambulance if you have any injury that makes it unsafe for you to drive.

If you can leave the accident scene on your own or with the assistance of a friend or family member, you should consider visiting the emergency room, quick care clinic, or doctor for an examination. Every injury is different, and you will need to exercise your best judgment based on how you feel.

Even when you suffer minor injuries that you think you can treat with home care, you should consider making a doctor’s appointment. Your injuries might be worse than you understand. You might also have hidden injuries, like a concussion, that take time to produce symptoms.

By seeking medical care, you accomplish several important goals, including:

  • Diagnosing your injuries
  • Finding any hidden injuries
  • Creating records of your injuries and the care you received

When you file an injury claim, you will need to prove the cause and extent of your injuries. Medical records often play a critical role in your case.

Document Everything

An overlooked step in what to do after a car accident, not your fault, is documenting the accident scene. Talking to the police and tending to your injuries will occupy you. But if you can take some pictures and talk to a few witnesses, you put yourself in a much stronger position in any insurance claim.

The importance of documentation does not end at the accident scene. You should also keep records of your doctor’s visits, medical expenses, and missed work time. You will use this information to prove the losses caused by your injuries.

You might wonder what to do after a minor car accident, not your fault, and whether the steps differ from more severe accidents. While you might have avoided injuries, you still have property damage you should document.

Speak to an Injury Lawyer

A lawyer will provide the best source of advice on what to do after a car accident not your fault. Most lawyers offer free consultations for new clients. You may even consider talking to a few lawyers about documenting your injuries and assembling the documents you need for an insurance claim.

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Talk to Professionals to Learn What to Do After a Car Accident Not Your Fault

Getting into a car accident can cause frustration and anger, especially if it wasn’t your fault. When it results from someone else’s actions, you must consider the legal and insurance consequences.

However, car accident claims are confusing and complex, and even the smallest detail can affect them. ConsumerShield recommends consulting an experienced professional early in the process. Contact us for a free claim review so you can protect your rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can usually pursue an injury claim against the at-fault driver. To win, you must show the accident resulted from the other driver’s negligent or intentional actions. Negligence happens when a driver fails to exercise reasonable care and, as a result, injures or kills another motorist, pedestrian, or cyclist.

  • You can present evidence and legal arguments to overcome misplaced blame in two situations. First, the at-fault driver might file a liability claim against you. Second, the at-fault driver’s insurer might deny your claim, saying you caused it. In either case, a lawyer can help you prove you are blameless.

  • You avoid paying for anyone else’s losses when you bear no blame. To recover your losses, you must prove someone else’s fault. If neither driver was at fault, everyone bears their own losses. For example, no one is at fault when a flood pushes a car into another vehicle.

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