Establishing who is at fault is one of the key aspects of any car accident claim. Even though one driver may be completely at fault, the liability may be shared between two or more of the drivers involved in the accident depending on what happened. Third parties may be liable as well.
After the accident, you believe you know who is at fault – especially if the other driver was driving recklessly before the crash. However, negligence in a car accident claim can be complicated. If you live and work in southeastern Michigan and Metro Detroit, it is in your best interest to work with an auto accident attorney at Bashore Green who can protect your legal rights.
Regardless of what happens in the accident, and who is determined to have been at fault, your first actions following an accident should be the following:
- Call 911 or local law enforcement
In addition to requesting that emergency workers come to the scene to help you and anyone else who is injured, ask for the police to respond as well. Law enforcement needs to be involved for insurance purposes.
- Get treatment for your injuries
First responders who arrive on the scene will assess your injuries and determine whether you require medical attention.
- Give a statement to the police
The responding law enforcement officer will ask you to describe what happened. Keep your answers factual. These facts will be important for the police to complete their accident report.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s)
You will need the name and contact information, the insurance information, and the driver’s license number for each driver, as well as the license plate number for each vehicle involved in the accident.
- Document the scene
Take pictures of the position of and damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles, debris from the accident, damage to the road, and any other pertinent details. These photos can be made available to your insurance company.
- Speak to witnesses
If anyone saw the accident, ask them to share their observations with you. Make sure you get their name and contact information, should you need it later. Encourage them to share their insights with the law enforcement officials.
Once you determine if you need medical care for any injuries, the next step is to report the accident to your insurance company within a reasonable amount of time. When in doubt, check your insurance policy to make sure you stay within the filing requirements and ask your agent if you have any questions.
Do I need to speak with a lawyer if I am not at fault for the accident?
Just because you may not be at fault for an auto accident in Michigan, you may not be fairly compensated for the injuries and other losses you sustain. Understand the at-fault driver’s insurance company will conduct its own investigation of the accident as well. If the investigators find evidence to suggest that you or someone else was at fault and not the insured driver, the company may deny your claim.
Even if the investigation confirms that the other driver was at fault, the insurance company may try to undervalue your claim by contacting you for purpose of:
- Gathering information about the accident
Your answers will be scrutinized for any admissions of fault or suggestions that your injuries are not serious.
- Securing a recorded statement about the accident
Again, any information you share will be scrutinized and used against you.
- Requesting your medical records
You may assume that signing a medical release will provide the insurance company with proof of the seriousness of your injuries.
If you have any concerns about providing information to your insurance company, the auto accident attorneys at Bashore Green can help. When you hire one of our attorneys, you can focus on recovering while we handle communications with the insurance company on your behalf.