There are few things more jarring than a car accident caused by a negligent driver. One moment you are going about your daily routine—perhaps on your way to work, taking your children to school, or running errands—and in the blink of an eye, your life has changed—possibly forever. No one ever expects to be involved in a car accident, yet in the United States, an auto accident occurs every sixty seconds. Of course, not every accident results in injury, death, or loss of work, but many do. A not-at-fault car accident can leave you injured, facing mountains of medical expenses, unable to return to work and make a living, and perhaps even dealing with long-term, chronic pain.
Following an accident in which you were not at fault, it can be extremely helpful to speak to an experienced car accident attorney from Noteboom—The Law Firm. We accept and handle all types of personal injury cases and want our clients to know that we are in it for the long haul. We employ an in-house investigator rather than using an outside service. We have regular office meetings to discuss your case as we take a team-based approach to problem-solving. We have been handling personal injury claims since 1982, and as a result, we settle more than 90 percent of our cases because we fully prepare to try 100 percent of our cases.
If you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault, you may wonder whether your own insurance will be affected. In general, a no-fault accident will not cause your car insurance rates to go up significantly since the at-fault party’s insurance will be responsible for the damages. A not-at-fault car accident can, however, raise your rates if you have previously been at fault in a car accident.
According to Car and Driver, those drivers involved in no-fault accidents who were previously the cause of an auto accident see an average premium increase of about 10 percent. In 2020 The Zebra found a no-fault accident increased annual auto insurance premiums by about $67. This means that even though an accident was not your fault, you might see an increase in premiums, and it can show up on your driving record.
Let’s assume a negligent driver backs out of a parking space without looking, hitting your front bumper, and knocking it off. In a situation like this, you would probably just contact your own insurance company, filing a claim for compensation for the bumper repair (assuming you have a low deductible). Since you filed a claim and received compensation from your insurance company, the accident will appear on your driving record, even though you were not responsible. In such a situation, you might consider paying for the damages to your vehicle out of pocket rather than turning in the claim.
Another situation in which you might see your insurance rates rise for a not-at-fault car accident is if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. You would file with your own insurance company (if you have uninsured/underinsured coverage) to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and vehicle damages, therefore, your insurance rates could go up. If you are shopping around for insurance, ask prospective insurers if they surcharge for a no-fault accident. If they do, it might be more cost-effective to choose an insurer with higher premiums that does not implement this surcharge.
If the other driver was clearly at fault—and has insurance—then his or her insurance will usually cover your expenses, and you will not be responsible for a deductible. If the driver is uninsured or underinsured and you have to file with your own insurance company, then you will likely have to pay a deductible. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, you will also probably have to pay the deductible on your insurance unless the driver is located by the police.
No matter whether you were at fault or not, the process following a car accident is much the same. First, you should call the police. If there is any damage to the vehicles and you think you might have been injured in the accident, you need a police report. Do not let the other driver talk you into skipping this step, no matter how persuasive he or she is. Next, make sure any injuries are attended to by a medical professional. When you are involved in an accident your body releases a surge of adrenaline. This can mask symptoms of injury, so rather than refusing medical care, have yourself checked out. If you are physically able after the accident, do the following:
At Noteboom—The Law Firm, we fully understand that you may feel anxious, stressed, frustrated, even angry following an accident that was not your fault. You may be unable to return to work and pay your living expenses and could be watching your medical expenses continue to rise. We can shoulder the legal burden, giving you the time to heal—both mentally and physically—from your injuries. We have an excellent reputation throughout the state of Texas, as well as a strong belief in our abilities that allow us to unequivocally tell potential clients, “If you can hire a better law firm, hire them!” Contact Noteboom—The Law Firm today for experienced, highly-skilled, knowledgeable personal injury representation.