After a car accident that wasn't your fault, you might wonder if you need to call your insurance company. The short answer is yes, you should notify your insurance company, but likely not in the manner you imagine. Instead of calling to report the accident yourself, you should have your car accident lawyer handle these communications for you.
Why You Should Notify Your Insurance Company of an Accident?
When you're in a car accident, especially one that's not your fault, it might seem unnecessary to involve your own insurance company. However, you should provide them with notice. Understanding these reasons can ensure you receive protection after an accident and make informed decisions.
One of the main reasons to have your attorney notify your insurance company after any car accident is that most insurance policies require it. When you get car insurance, you agree to specific rules, and one of those rules is that you need to report any accident you're involved in. If you don't follow this rule, you can face problems with your insurance coverage.
Not reporting an accident can lead to several issues. Your insurance company might see it as breaking the terms of your agreement. This failure to report can result in your insurance not covering you when you need it. In some cases, it can even lead to the cancellation of your insurance. That's why it's always a safe choice to report any accident, big or small, to your insurance company.
Protecting Your Interests
Another essential reason to notify your insurance company is to protect your interests. Accidents can get complicated quickly. Even if it's clear that the other driver was negligent, they might not see it that way. The other driver might even tell their insurance company a different story about what happened.
By reporting the accident to your insurance, you're taking a step to protect yourself. Your insurance company can act on your behalf and handle discussions with the other driver's insurer, which can be helpful, especially if there are disagreements about who was at fault.
Documentation and Assistance
Your insurance company can also be a valuable resource for understanding what to do after an accident. They can guide you through the process, tell you what documents you need, and advise you on handling things.
For example, they can tell you what photos you should take of the accident scene, what information you need from the other driver, and how to file a claim. They can also advise you on getting a police report, which can be significant evidence for disputes about the accident.
Potential Coverage Benefits
Lastly, depending on your insurance policy, you might have coverage that can benefit you immediately, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This coverage can include benefits like a rental car service, so you have transportation if your car needs repairs.
You might also have medical payment coverage as part of your policy, which can help cover your medical bills while sorting out accident details. Even if the other driver was at fault, it can take time for their insurance to agree to pay your expenses. Your insurance can help in the meantime, but someone needs to notify the company of the accident for this coverage to take effect.
Why Your Lawyer Should Handle These Communications?
Having your lawyer report accidents to your insurance company is a strategic move that safeguards your interests. Insurance companies, despite being your own, are profit-driven entities, and their primary objective is to minimize payouts. Here are some reasons why having legal representation matters.
Twisting Your Words
Insurers are skilled at extracting statements that they can later use against you. Your lawyer acts as a buffer, ensuring that your statements are precise, limited, and not twisted to your detriment.
Insurers may employ tactics to downplay the accident's severity, diminishing the benefits you deserve. By reporting the collision for you, your car accident attorney ensures they accurately convey the full extent of damages and injuries to the insurer.
Avoiding Admissions of Fault
Insurance companies may try to extract statements or information that can imply fault on your part. Your lawyer guides you to avoid inadvertently admitting fault, which can affect your claim.
Adhering to Legal Protocols
There are legal protocols and deadlines for reporting accidents to insurance companies. Your lawyer ensures you meet all requirements, preventing potential complications or denials based on procedural errors.
Understanding Policy Coverage
Insurance policies can be intricate, with varying coverages and exclusions. Your lawyer can review your policy and gain a clear understanding of its terms, preventing the insurer from exploiting any ambiguities.
Avoiding Recorded Statements
Insurance adjusters may request recorded statements, which they can use against you. Your lawyer advises you on when and how to provide statements or whether to decline recorded conversations.
Preserving and Presenting Evidence
Your lawyer can preserve crucial evidence related to the accident and present it persuasively when you have a pending claim to prove. This includes medical records, witness statements, and any other documentation that strengthens your case.
Negotiating with Insurers
Insurance companies often try to settle claims quickly and for the least amount possible. Your lawyer, familiar with negotiation tactics, can handle discussions with the insurer to ensure that you receive a fair and just settlement.
Preventing Delay Tactics
Insurance companies may intentionally delay processing claims to create frustration and prompt victims to accept inadequate settlements. Your lawyer promptly and efficiently pursues your claim.
Involving your lawyer in reporting accidents to your insurance company protects you from the insurance industry's tactics. It safeguards your rights, prevents potential pitfalls, and ensures you receive the compensation you deserve without compromising your position.
What Happens After You Report the Accident?
After your attorney reports a car accident to your insurance company, the company will take several steps. Understanding this process lets you know what to expect and ensures everything moves forward. Here's a closer look at what typically happens after you report an accident.
Your Insurance Company Investigates
The first thing your insurance company does after you report an accident is start an investigation. They want to understand what happened. To do this, they might talk to witnesses who saw the accident. They will also look at the police report, which can give many details about the accident, like the time, location, and possibly who was at fault.
Your insurance company might also ask you for any photos or videos you have of the accident scene. These can show things like the position of the cars after the crash and the damage done. All this information helps your insurance company get a complete picture of the accident.
Dealing with the Other Driver's Insurance
Another critical part of the process is dealing with the other driver's insurance company, which can be helpful, especially if there are different stories about who was at fault. Your insurance company will talk to the other driver's insurer and share information about the accident.
This communication is essential because it's how the two companies determine who should pay for the damages. Your insurance company will represent your side of the story and work to protect your interests.
One of the key things both insurance companies do is try to figure out who was at fault for the accident. They look at all the evidence, like the police report, witness statements, and photos or videos. Then, they decide who they think caused the accident.
If the other driver was at fault, their insurance should pay for your damages. But sometimes, it's unclear who was at fault, or the insurance companies might not agree. When this happens, it can take longer to sort out who pays for what.
Handling Claims and Repairs
Your insurance company can start the claims process even if the other driver is at fault. They might cover your damages immediately and get the money back from the other driver's insurance later, which is called subrogation.
This process is helpful because it means you can immediately fix your car or receive reimbursement for other expenses. But whether your insurance company does this can depend on your policy and the specifics of the accident.
What If the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?
Getting into a car accident is stressful enough, but finding out the other driver doesn't have insurance adds another layer of complexity. You might worry about how you'll cover the costs for repairs, medical bills, or other expenses. This situation is unfortunately more common than you might think, and you need a car accident lawyer to handle it.
Reporting the Accident to Your Insurance
Report any accident to your insurance company. Your insurance company can offer guidance and support even when the other driver is uninsured.
When you report the accident, tell your insurance company that the other driver doesn't have insurance. They will note this information and proceed accordingly. Provide details about the other driver and the accident, as this can help with the next steps.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Many insurance policies include something called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This part of your policy specifically pays for situations where the other driver doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance to cover your damages.
If you have this coverage, your insurance company might pay for your damages up to the limits of your policy. These expenses can include repairs to your car, property damage, medical expenses, and sometimes even compensation for lost income if you can't work because of the accident.
The coverage limits and what exactly is covered can vary, so you need a lawyer who understands your policy. Your insurance agent can explain the specifics of your coverage and how it applies to your situation.
When the Other Driver Is Underinsured?
In cases where the other driver has insurance, but it's not enough to cover all your damages, your underinsured motorist coverage can help fill the gap. For example, if your damages total $30,000 but the other driver's insurance only covers up to $20,000, your underinsured motorist coverage can cover the remaining $10,000.
In some situations, you may have legal options that depend on your state's laws and the accident's specifics. While filing a lawsuit against an uninsured driver might waste your time (especially if they don't have the means to pay), you can discuss this option with a lawyer.
What if You Receive a Call from Insurers After a Car Accident?
Sometimes, an insurance representative might reach out to you following a crash. When this happens, proceed with caution. While insurance agents should help, they truly represent the corporation - not you.
Always know how to talk to them and what information you should share and not share. Here are some tips for when you must navigate these conversations.
Be Prepared with the Right Information
Having the correct information readily available can protect you. Have the accident details ready, including the date, time, location, and other basic facts of what happened. Never guess about information; this can go in your file, and adjusters can use it against your claim later.
Stick to the Basics
Always stick to the undisputed facts of the accident. Avoid adding opinions or guesses about what happened. If they begin asking more detailed questions, politely tell them you prefer they continue the communications with your car accident lawyer.
Discuss Your Situation With a Car Accident Attorney Today
Notifying your insurance company of an accident that wasn't your fault is a crucial step, though you should not handle this call yourself. Proper notification ensures that you comply with your policy requirements, protect your interests and that your insurer is ready to provide immediate assistance and benefits.
Remember, each situation is different, and how insurance companies handle accidents can vary. Having the right personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale through all steps of the insurance process is the wisest move you can make.