After you have been in a car accident, there are sure to be a lot of things running through your mind. First, of course, is your personal health, and the health of others involved. If you have been injured, then an finding an auto accident attorney may be added to your list of to-dos. Once it is confirmed that everyone is okay, or everyone has been given the medical attention they need, your attention can turn to legal and financial matters. Your car is one of your most valuable possessions, and you need to have it repaired properly to go about your day to day life.
It is important to make sure the investigation into your auto accident proceeds correctly. There will be insurance and liability decisions made based on the findings of the investigation, so you want to make sure that all information is collected accurately. If you’ve never before been in a car or truck accident, you might not know how these kinds of things work. Let’s take a closer look.
Starts with the Police
You are required by law to report a car accident to the local authorities. This is where the process should start, and it should begin as soon as the accident takes place. Contact the police as soon as possible once you have moved to a safe area away from the roadway. When the cops respond, they will go through the standard procedure of collecting statements, speaking to any witnesses, and recording any important pieces of information that may be present at the scene. This investigation process will be relatively brief for a minor, non-injury accident. On the other hand, it will be quite involved and time-consuming in the case of a major accident where there are serious injuries or even fatalities.
Moving on to Insurance
At some point, the insurance companies are going to get involved with this process. Since the results of the investigation are going to determine which company has to pay for the damage, it is only natural that the companies are going to want to have their own investigators involved. This will usually be a more detailed investigation than what it completed by the police, and there will likely be phone interviews with all relevant parties. As always, it is in your best interest to be as honest as possible throughout this process. Don’t be tempted to paint a version of the events that will favor your side – just be honest and let the process play out as it will.
A Private Investigation
For the bulk of car accidents, the process will be settled with the insurance investigation. A determination of fault will be made, the vehicles will be repaired or replaced, and everyone will move on. However, if you disagree with the findings of the investigations, you may wish to hire a private investigator to do more work. This would only make sense in the case of a serious accident where large dollar amounts are in play. Most likely, if you feel the need to bring in a private investigator, you’ll have to wind up in court if you want the case to be settled in your favor.