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What To Do After a Car Accident that Isn’t Your Fault

Minor car accidents are commonplace. All it takes for an accident to happen is one driver not paying proper attention. Even a good driver can fail to make the right move in the moment and cause an accident. If you’re in the crossfire when this happens, results can range from frustrating to deadly.

Fortunately, most car accidents do not cause severe injuries. It’s common to get into a minor accident at low speeds in city traffic through no fault of your own. However, damage to your car can be expensive even in these minor collisions, and if you’re not at fault, you don’t want to be paying insurance and repair fees unnecessarily.

Protecting yourself legally is therefore important when an accident occurs, particularly when you’re not at fault. If this happens to you, the following steps can help you financially and legally:

• Call the police. Many states have laws requiring a police report to be filed following an accident. If the accident results in an injury, you definitely have to call the police. Your state may have particular regulations of when to call in the event of solely property damage. Some states require you to call for damage over $500 in value, though others have a $1,000 limit. Either way, even if you know a bit about cars, you may not be able to accurately estimate damage in a glance. Car repair can get expensive very quickly, and it’s best to call the police when in doubt.

• Be honest with the police. An accident can be stressful. Sometimes, you may find it hard to remember what happened, even if the collision was minor. While you wait for the police to get to the site, think over what happened so you can give them an accurate account. If there were any witnesses, either in your vehicle or on the street, they may be able to help you piece together what happened.

Particularly when the accident is not your fault, it’s important to tell the police every detail. This protects you from having to pay a lot in repairs to the other party and keeps you from being charged with breaking road laws you didn’t violate.

• Don’t admit fault. You may have an instinct after an accident to immediately apologize, even if the incident was in no way your fault. Avoid doing this. An apology can be construed as admitting fault, and especially in cases when the other party is to blame, you want to avoid this. Don’t interrogate or have an emotional outburst at the driver or passengers in the other car.

You can tell the police what happened when they arrive. Until then, keep conversation neutral. Only ask for the names of the people in the other car, and recommend waiting for the police to arrive before doing anything else.

• Listen to what the other driver says. If the other driver is wise, he or she won’t admit fault for the accident. However, guilt about the incident may take over. If the driver admits the accident was his or her fault, this is something you can tell the police and your insurance company later. This may protect you from having to pay excessive insurance and repair fees.

• Contact your insurance company ASAP. After you have filed a report with the police, call your insurance company immediately. It’s important to report accidents as soon as you can. There may be provisions in your insurance plan that state you’ll have to pay more if you don’t report immediately. Since the accident was not your fault, you may not suffer from a hike in your rates. You can ask your company to find out more.

If you need legal help following a car collision in Los Angeles, Grey Law is the group to call. Contact us today to learn more.

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