As careful of a driver as you may be, you can’t control the behaviors or sobriety of other motorists behind the wheel. This can mean that, in some cases, traffic accidents are simply unavoidable and that the average motorist will be involved in at least one collision in his lifetime.
In fact, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the average driver will submit an auto accident claim with an insurance company about every 18 years; over a lifetime, this will result in the average motorist being in about 3 to 4 traffic accidents.
While this may be disconcerting, you should also know this – what you do in the aftermath of traffic accidents and how your report the collision to insurance companies can make a big difference in the success of your financial recovery.
Examining this a bit closer, this blog series will point out the Do’s and Don’ts of reporting car accidents to insurers. While the tips discussed herein can be helpful in protecting your claim, you can also turn to trusted Kingston Car Accident Attorney Charles N. Rock when you need experienced help getting the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
The Do’s of Reporting Car Accidents to Insurers
When it comes to reporting car accidents to insurers:
- DO contact your insurer as soon as possible – Although you may need to get some immediate medical treatment after an auto accident, as soon as you are able to contact your insurance company to report the collision, do it.The reason that promptly reporting car accidents to insurers is so crucial is that it’s common for auto insurance policies to have specific and strict time limits for doing this; for instance, policies can stipulate that policyholders have to report collisions within 48 hours of their occurrence. Missing such deadlines can end up complicating people’s claims (and possibly even reducing them, depending on how long drivers waited to report the accident).
- DO explain the facts of the collision – When reporting car accidents to insurers, agents will want to know as much about the details of the accident as you can tell them. In addition to wanting to know when (date/time) and where (specific location) the accident occurred, insurers typically will also want to know who else was involved, whether police were called, whether anyone received emergency medical care, etc.So, be prepared to discuss these details when reporting car accidents to insurers. If you are unsure about anything, simply state this.
- DO provide your insurer with copies of photos/other evidence you have related to the collision – If you were able to do things like take photos of the aftermath of the traffic accident, collect contact/insurance info from other involved drivers, etc., then good job – and be prepared to provide this info (or copies of it) to your insurer when reporting the collision. Providing such info/evidence up front can help facilitate the investigation of your claim, potentially helping you get compensation faster.
- DO keep detailed records of your interactions with/correspondence from insurers – Depending on the nature and severity of your collision, your auto accident claim may take some time (i.e., weeks or months) to resolve. Over this time, you’ll likely receive correspondence from insurers, communicate with them over the phone/email, etc.To protect your claim and yourself as this process moves towards a resolution, keep copies of everything you receive, and keep a detailed log of your phone conversations with insurers (noting the date, time and duration of calls, as well as who you spoke to and the topic of your conversation). Keeping such details can be invaluable later if insurers try to undervalue or wrongfully deny your claim.
The Don’ts of Reporting Car Accidents to Insurers
Here’s what you should avoid doing when reporting car accidents to insurers:
- DON’T admit blame or fault in the collision – This is an extremely important thing to remember when reporting car accidents to insurers because it’s the one thing you can do to sabotage your claim.Even if you think you may have been to blame for the collision, do NOT admit this; also, be cautious about answering insurers’ leading or tricky questions that may be designed to try to get you to admit some blame. If you find yourself facing such questions, simply don’t answer them or state, “I don’t know,” or “No comment.”
- DON’T sign anything or accept any offers without carefully reviewing them first – After a traffic accident, getting the compensation you deserve and moving on with your life can be your central focus. However, don’t let this focus drive you to accepting low-ball settlement offers from insurers who may be counting on you not knowing your rights, being in need of money and wanting to just wrap up your claim ASAP.Instead, if you get an offer from insurers or you receive something that you are asked to sign and you don’t know the implications of authorizing it, consult with an attorney before making any moves. An experienced lawyer can review offers/other documents to help you understand whether these offers are sufficient, whether they may be compromising your entitlements/interests, etc.
- DON’T try to deal with insurers on your own – Of all of the things to do and not do when reporting car accidents to insurers, the smartest step to take is to retain an experienced auto accident lawyer – like Kingston Car Accident Attorney Charles N. Rock. This is because, with a trusted lawyer on your side, you can be sure that your rights and interests will be protected throughout the claims process and that you will have the best chances of obtaining the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
- DON’T give official statements if you aren’t prepared to do so – When reporting car accidents to insurers, agents may ask that your provide an “official” statement (written or over the phone) regarding the accident. This statement will be recorded and can be used against you later by insurers to try to devalue or completely deny your claim.So, if an insurance agent asks you to make an official statement and you are not prepared to do this, simply don’t do it. While you can always make an official statement later, you cannot take back a statement already freely given; what’s more, if you end up saying the wrong things in your statement because you simply aren’t prepared, you could end up giving insurers enough leverage to reduce or deny your payout.
Kingston Car Accident Attorney at Charles N. Rock, P.L.L.C.
Have you or someone you love been injured in a car accident or any type of motor vehicle accident? If so, you can turn to Kingston Car Accident Attorney Charles N. Rock for effective help obtaining the compensation to which you may be entitled.
To find out more about your best options for moving forward, contact us today to schedule a free, no obligations initial consultation. You can set up this meeting by calling (845) 383–1170 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page. To ensure that you have the legal support you need now, Attorney Charles N. Rock can meet you at your home or a hospital when needed.
From our offices based in Kingston, New York, Charles N. Rock provides the highest quality legal services to clients throughout New York, including those in Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Hyde Park, Ellenville, Saugerties, Ulster County, Dutchess County, and Orange County.