What is the next move after a car accident?
February 12, 2017 4:16 AM   Subscribe

I was in a car accident this afternoon. A man was turning left across my lane and I hit the side of his car. No injuries to either party. What should my next move be?

Asking because I've never been in an accident before (not even a fender bender or a scratch) and want to be sure I am doing the right things.

Our cars were going towards each other on the same road. He was turning left and didn't see me - he admitted this to the police officer and to the tow guy. He tried to hurry up and turn left and I did not have time to stop. Both of our cars have significant damage - his to the right side and mine on the front.

Both of our cars were towed to the same collision place. There was a police car down the road and they were on the scene within a minute. I have the other guy's insurance information and there is an accident report written by the police.

I remembered the AskMe advice I'd read previously, and made sure that the other guy was okay and that I got his information as well as the accident report number.

My insurance only covers liability, not collision or anything else. I called my insurance carrier and they said that I shouldn't be filing a claim with them, and that I may want to get in touch with the other guy's insurance company.

Questions: should I do this? What do I say? What should I not say? How does this process work? Like I said, I've never been in an accident before and this is all brand new to me. This is in Pittsburgh, PA.

Thanks so much.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hey. I am sorry to hear you were in an accident but glad you are unharmed.

I work as a Bodily injury and liability auto accident claims adjuster and have nearly a decade of experience with Pennsylvania auto insurance laws and regulations, specifically. I am not a lawyer but I can give you a lot of good information that you would typically get from your insurance company but in much more detail and without the worry of saying the wrong thing to your insurance carrier, etc.

I am happy to help you navigate the details of this but would need to ask you some more questions so I can give you the most accurate info. Since you are anonymous, this may be easier by memail, so please feel free to memail me!
posted by nightrecordings at 5:32 AM on February 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

I've been in one car accident, more minor than what you describe; my car was still driveable afterwards but had significant damage to the fender and the right front hubcap. The other person was at fault. Here's what I did which worked out:

1. Called my insurance company (which was the same as her insurance company) and told them honestly what had happened. They asked about an accident report but as we didn't involve the police there was none; I would think they would want that number from you to make sure your description to them was accurate.
2. They placed a claim under her name and told me to go to XYZ collision place which has their claims people
3. Claims person did a walk-round of my car, had me fill out some paperwork, and gave me a loaner car while mine was in service
4. Two days later I got a call that the car was ready; went and picked it up/returned the loaner, and drove off the lot no problem.

I paid nothing, and there was no change to my insurance premium as I was not at fault. The hardest part of the whole experience was that the loaner was an SUV and I was used to a subcompact.
posted by basalganglia at 6:07 AM on February 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

A really big part of this will be what state you are in as no-fault states are a LOT different than states that dont have this shitty style of insurance. Also helpful, was the other driver cited (or where you?) By the officer? This is the other big peice of info. Maybe you could have a mod update with that info?
posted by chasles at 6:20 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

The OP says they are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

When calling the other driver's inscurance company, just be honest, factual, and keep your answers to the questions they ask. It helps if you have your police report and your insurance information handy.

They will generally pick a collision shop to send your car and things will proceed based on what THAT collision shop says (not necessarily the one your where you can currently find your car.)
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:28 AM on February 12, 2017


Crud how did i miss that. The still needed info is if the other driver was found at fault. Assuming yes, the process is as stated. You are working with their insurance. The general rule would be to not sign anything. You have the right to go anywhere not just the insurance adjusters shop. You have the right to guaranteed all new parts. There is always the option or ability for lost compensation if the car is to the point where it affects your ability to get to work. Also, if the car is going to be in the shop they will have to provide you a loaner or rental at no charge to you.
posted by chasles at 9:27 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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