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After the Accident - Working with the At-Fault Driver's Insurer

You have just emerged from a car accident, but the good news is that you are not at fault. Now comes the task of successfully dealing with the other driver's insurance company. In order to begin, you must collect certain details at the site of the accident from the at-fault driver: their name, address and phone number, the name of their insurance company, their policy number, their claims number and their insurance company's address. With this information you can begin the process by making a phone call to the company in question.

Now, it is the responsibility of the at-fault driver to tell their insurance company about the accident; unsurprisingly, many of them are reluctant to do so. Therefore, it is a good idea for you to make the call in case they do not. During the call, tell the insurance company that you were involved in an accident with one of their policyholders and also inform them of any property damage or personal injuries, if any. At this stage, it is only necessary to report the simple facts of the accident without telling them who was at fault. Your opinion is not necessary in order for the police to determine who was at fault, and for the insurance company to follow the police's recommendation.

When you are involved in an accident, and you believe that you are not at fault, it is best to contact your own insurance company anyway. This is important because it establishes your own good faith. It is especially important if the other party or their insurer denies that they are responsible for the accident, because this can help you. The insurance company of the at-fault party is completely responsible for reimbursing you for any damages to either your person or your property. Nevertheless, there are certain strictures that must be followed in all situations.

The most  important rule is never take the law into your own hands, under any circumstances. After you have informed both your insurer and the other party's insurer, ask for an authorization for car repairs from the at-fault driver's company. You will be asked to get an estimate of the necessary work from a local garage that you may choose. The majority of states only allow insurance companies to recommend garages and not only declare their services valid at one of their choice. Make the estimate known to the insurer as soon as possible.

Typically, this is an uneventful process, but sometimes the at-fault driver's insurer can inform you to seek payment from your own insurer due to lack of evidence. Therefore, obtain the police report as soon as possible and notify your insurer at once. The report will clearly spell out who is at fault for the accident; taking a copy to the at-fault driver's insurance company will probably clear up any remaining misunderstandings. As a matter of fact in most states it is against the law for the insurer to deny a claim when the liability is "reasonably clear."

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