Getting in a car accident is always stressful and disruptive. But it’s always a little easier when you know what steps you need to take. Whether you’ve recently been involved in a collision or you’re just looking to be prepared in the event you ever are, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll take you through the whole process of filing an auto claim after you’ve been in an accident in Portland, OR. We’ll go over what to do right after an accident occurs, as well as the steps you need to take in the days and weeks that follow.
What To Do at the Scene of the Accident
1. Get to Safety
The physical safety and psychological well-being of everyone involved in an accident are always the first things you should worry about. If your car is in the middle of traffic, try to get it to a safe place (if it’s drivable). If your car is inoperable, or if you’re too shaken up to drive it, turn on the hazard lights and carefully make your way to a safe location away from traffic. Also, make sure to check yourself and any passengers for injuries and make sure everyone is okay.
Doing your due diligence to ensure all involved parties are safe is the right thing to do. It also puts you in a good position to file a successful claim.
2. Gather All the Important Information
Collect as much information as you can at the scene immediately after the accident so you have everything you need to file a claim and protect your personal and financial interests.
Here’s what you’ll need to obtain to make filing an actual claim a piece of cake:
- Photos of the vehicle damage (or lack thereof) on both your car and the other person’s car.
- The other driver’s contact information (phone number, email, insurance provider, policy number, car model, license plate, etc.).
- The date, time, and location of the accident.
It’s also a good practice to keep all related receipts, including those for a tow truck, roadside assistance, and any medical care you receive for your injuries, because the insurance company may reimburse you.
What To Do If the Other Driver is Uninsured?
In Oregon, all drivers must be insured by law. If you own a car, you are required to prove that you have insurance before renewing your registration. Unfortunately, there are always some people who don’t follow these laws. Fortunately, Oregon laws protect insured drivers from uninsured drivers. If you’re involved in a crash and find out the other driver isn’t insured, you have a few options:
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage: Every insurance policy issued in the state of Oregon requires that the insurer provides UM coverage; this means as long as the accident wasn’t your fault, your insurance will cover you up to the limits of your policy.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): You’re protected by Oregon’s no-fault insurance (PIP) if you’re insured under your own policy or your car is insured.
- Arbitration: If you sustain injuries resulting from the actions of an uninsured driver, and you and your insurance company don’t agree on the amount you’re entitled to receive, you can resolve the dispute through arbitration, which saves you from having to go through the litigation process or a time-consuming trial.
What To Do After the Accident
1. Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible after an accident occurs, contact your insurance company to start the auto claim. You can generally call your insurer directly, email them with all the relevant information, or go through your insurance provider’s mobile app, if they have one.
It’s a common misconception that you only need to call your insurance company if you’re at fault. Regardless of who caused the accident, it’s important to contact your insurer to report any accident that resulted in bodily injury or property damage of any kind.
2. Decide if it Makes Sense to File a Claim
You’ll need to determine whether it makes sense to file an auto claim with your insurance company. While filing a claim is often the best course of action to ensure you’re compensated for any medical costs or the cost to repair your vehicle, this isn’t always the case. In some instances, you may decide against filing a claim and pay out of pocket to avoid potentially paying a higher insurance premium.
3. Take Your Car to be Checked Out at a Repair Shop
One of the last steps to take after an accident (but an extremely important one) is to get your vehicle checked out and get any necessary repairs completed. Working with a local shop that specializes in collision repairs, such as Mackin’s Auto Body, which has 9 locations throughout Portland and SW Washington, can help make the process of coordinating with your insurer go more smoothly.
At Mackin’s, we can provide an estimate for the repairs and let you know approximately how long it will take to fix your vehicle. If the accident was severe, we may deem your car unfixable and your insurance company may be able to provide reimbursement for the vehicle.
Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
The process of filing a car insurance claim can be somewhat similar across insurance companies. But who pays for damages, how much is covered, and whether you are covered at all can vary based on your state and the details of the insurance policy. It’s important to know your rights and responsibilities where the law is concerned as well as through your insurance company.
Get Your Car Repaired at Portland’s Most Trusted Auto Body Collision-Repair Shop
Finding the right repair shop can make the process of getting your car fixed much easier. At Mackin’s Auto Body, we go above and beyond to ensure the process of getting your car repaired after an accident is as straightforward and stress-free as possible:
- We provide timely written estimates
- We offer lifetime warranties on repairs
- We work directly with your insurance company
- We have lot-security measures in place
- We provide repair-time estimates as well as cost estimates
Mackin’s has 9 locations in the Portland and Southwest Washington area. With over 75 years of experience, we know how to get your car back on the road quickly and successfully. Give us a call at 1-800-653-0665, contact us online, or just bring your car in and we’ll work directly with your insurance company and repair your vehicle quickly and safely.