With Summer upon us, travel is picking up all across Arizona and that means more car accidents. No matter how common vehicle crashes are — there are millions every year in the United States — they’re overwhelming when they happen to you.
That’s why it’s important to know ahead of time what to do in case of a crash. To help you prepare, we’ve asked James Bergener of Sweet James Accident Attorney to share the four important questions to ask after you or a loved one is involved in a car accident.
If anyone is injured, your first call should be to 911. Then, call your insurance company. If your car is too damaged to drive, you’ll need a tow truck to move it to a body shop, and insurance may cover the cost, so ask which tow companies and mechanics are covered.
Next, call a personal injury attorney. No matter who is at fault, an attorney can offer advice on how to document the accident by, for example, taking pictures or filling out important forms.
“Filling out the right documents will offset any unexpected consequences following an auto accident and ensure you are compensated fairly,” according to local law firm Sweet James.
Sweet James attorneys even offer to submit the proper paperwork on your behalf.
What should I do if my car was impounded?
If you are unable to arrange for a tow truck, your vehicle will need to be moved to keep the road clear and safe.
“Whenever there is a traffic accident, emergency services will try to clear the road of any wreckage as quickly as possible,” Sweet James says. “If your vehicle is involved in the crash and becomes inoperable, it will most likely be taken to an impound lot. This isn’t a way to punish you, but rather an effort to keep the roads safe for other drivers.”
Arrange to pick up your car as soon as possible to avoid storage fees from adding up.
Insurance policies differ, and your coverage will depend on what you signed up for. For example, if you are at fault and have liability coverage, it should protect you from paying for the other driver’s costs, but you may still have to cover your own. On the other hand, if the other driver is at fault but has no insurance, your policy should cover your costs with uninsured property damage or collision coverage.
Unfortunately, dealing with an insurance company isn’t always simple.
“The aftermath of an auto collision can be just as unpredictable as the accident itself,” Sweet James says. “Trying to pursue a claim with insurance adjusters on your own can be a nightmare. Their focus is to provide you with a low-value settlement, not relief after an accident.”
This issue may lead you to ask the next question.
A minor collision with no injuries and little property damage may not require an attorney. However, in most cases, a personal injury attorney can support you as you deal with the complicated aftermath of an accident, including medical bills, insurance claims, and repair expenses. The good news is you can hire an attorney without paying out-of-pocket.
“Fortunately, most personal injury law firms work on a contingency fee,” Sweet James says. “This means your attorney will be paid a percentage of your final settlement. Working under this agreement gives your attorney an incentive to fight harder in order to obtain the maximum amount.”
For more information or to discuss your case with an attorney, visit SweetJames.com.