Driving requires constant attention to your activities, but you can’t control the actions of others. Even the most diligent driver may end up in a fender bender. When you are hit by another driver, you must work through the other party’s insurance provider to be compensated. You submit a claim through your auto insurance, which then works with the other insurance company to decide fault. After fault is established, a payout is issued based on the damage to your vehicle.
Where You Live Matters
The state you live in determines what is paid out in an accident. States are divided up between fault and no-fault states. If you live in a fault state, the person deemed at fault pays for the accident and your medical bills. In a no-fault state, your insurance pays your medical bills using your personal injury protection coverage. The at-fault driver pays for your auto repairs.
Call the police immediately following the accident. You want to document the accident for the insurance company. It also helps your case if the other driver is ticketed for a traffic infraction at the time of the accident. Never admit fault at the scene of the accident. Exchange information and immediately call your own insurance agent to report the accident.
After you notify your insurance company, you wait for a decision. The insurance company contacts the other driver’s insurance company. A claims adjuster enters the scene, reviewing the accident report. A decision of fault is made. If it is deemed not your fault, the other party’s insurance company issues a check payable to you to fix your car and pay your medical bills.
Insurance providers don’t want to pay out on claims if they do not have to. If you find yourself up against an insurance provider refusing to pay, you may want to contact your state insurance commissioner. According to Forbes, all states have set up a dispute resolution process with insurance providers. You submit a complaint, and the insurance commissioner investigates. As a last resort, you may have to contact an attorney. Suing the insurance provider may be your only way to get the compensation you deserve, but it can take a long time to get the needed money.
When the at-fault party has no insurance, you have little recourse. Many states require drivers to have uninsured motorist insurance to pay for damage in this situation. Your only other recourse in this situation is to sue the at-fault party in civil court to pursue damages.
Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.