At some point in time, it is likely that you will be in some form of car accident. Whether or not the accident was your fault, you could end up with a ticket from the police. Depending on the ticket and the severity of the accident, your license and your insurance could be severely affected.
What Will You Do?
After being in an accident, the first thing to do is to call the police. The police will ensure that all parties involved have the proper identification, registration forms, and insurance forms. Once the police gather the necessary documents, they will assess the accident and try to determine who is at fault.
Although it is unlikely that the police will give tickets to everyone involved, you could receive a ticket charge even if you weren’t at fault in the situation.
The Insurance Surcharge
When you are involved in an accident, your insurance responds by sending you a check or reimbursing you for the damage done to your vehicle, or it covers a portion of the medical bills incurred. Even if you were not at fault for the accident, your monthly insurance rate will increase as the insurance company believes that you are likely to be involved in a future accident.
The amount that your insurance increases from your previous premium is called a surcharge. The severity of the surcharge depends on if you were at fault for the accident, received a ticket or citation from the police, and how the police reported the incident.
Points on your License
Like a surcharge, points are added to your license depending on the severity of the accident that occurred. In some states, the surcharge is directly related to the point system implemented by the government, and the more points that you have, the higher your overall insurance rate, which affects your driving restrictions.
Typically, high point values are only assessed to drivers at fault who broke the law when they caused the accident. Here are the point values, and how they are assessed:
• A 5 point charge is given for a major traffic violation that results in some form of accident. A major traffic violation involves receiving a DUI or a DWI and usually involves some form of reckless or aggressive driving.
• A 4 point charge is usually assessed for a major at-fault accident. An at-fault accident is one that causes an insurance claim of more than $2,000 between the parties involved.
• A 3 point charge is typically only assessed for minor at-fault accidents, meaning that the overall insurance claim is less than $2,000.
• A 2 point charge is given for minor traffic violations – such as speeding or not yielding the right-of-way – that results in an accident.
These point value assessments are not absolute, and police officers can give point charges as they see fit based on the type of accident and the damage that occurred.
In order to not implicate yourself, tell the police the facts and cooperate with them as they do their job. Once the accident has been assessed and you are allowed to go home, find a traffic lawyer who can answer any questions you might have about the accident and the charges you received.
Paying a small fee to have someone represent you in court or reduce a point charge is well worth the money and the time spent talking to a lawyer, and it can save your driving ability and lower your insurance rates for the future.