After a car accident, most people are confused about the best steps to take to protect themselves. The most important step is to make sure you receive a thorough medical exam and proper treatment. You should also be sure to take photos of both vehicles involved. Also, always report the accident to the police. You will need a police report.
You need to report the accident to the police, but should you also report it to your own insurance company?
Prompt but Brief Reporting
You should report the accident to your own insurance company, and do so within 24 hours if possible. Generally, the law does not require you to report the accident, but the contract you have with your insurance company probably does, and it also will have a time limitation for reporting. You want to make sure you have the opportunity to receive the payments you’re entitled to. Also, reporting the accident is not the same thing as filing a claim, and your rates should not go up unless a claim is filed.
When you report the accident, provide the information asked for, but stick to the facts. Don’t speculate about the cause of the accident. Avoid using any apologetic language. You might feel like apologizing for asking an agent to repeat a question or take your report in the middle of the night, but your apology could be taken as an admission of fault. Your insurance company is ultimately looking to pay as little as possible, so while you need to be honest, you don’t want to say anything that gives the company grounds to reduce or deny your coverage.
What if It’s Obvious that the Other Driver is at Fault?
You should report the accident to your insurer regardless of who was at fault. In a no-fault state like Florida, your insurer is likely to be covering at least some of the loss even if your conduct was blameless. In other states like Georgia, your insurance company can still work with you to get help and then seek reimbursement from the other insurance company.
Help After a Car Accident
Car accidents are traumatic. It can be very helpful to get advice from a professional who has worked with similar situations and who has your best interests in mind. When you contact an experienced attorney at The Leach Firm, we can provide guidance and representation to help you receive fair treatment and recovery after your accident. For a free case evaluation, give us a call.