A common myth is that you do not need to contact your insurance company if you are not at fault for the accident. However, this is false, as your insurance company should receive a report of the accident as soon as possible.
Regardless of fault, most insurance providers require you to notify them about the crash, and you may also need to use available coverage to cover your damages in certain situations. For example, if you learn the other driver’s insurance will not cover all your losses, you might need to file an underinsured motorist claim.
However, when you report the accident, limit what you say on the call and never agree to a recorded statement or offer details about what happened beyond the crash date and location.
Better yet, hire a car accident attorney immediately after your accident and allow them to handle this report. Just as you should never communicate openly with an adverse insurer, also avoid discussing your accident with your provider.
Why Is Insurance Important After a Car Accident?
In all states, drivers must carry minimum car insurance with liability coverage. Even if you do not have insurance to cover your own damages, you still have to carry insurance to cover another driver's injuries and losses if you cause an accident.
Repairing damages to your car and covering potential legal costs after an accident can cost thousands, and if you cause an accident, car insurance can ease the burden of financial liability. In fact, you can face major fines and pay out of pocket to cover the damages you cause another driver if you fail to carry insurance.
If you are responsible for an accident, your car insurance company will cover the cost of damages and losses for the people you hit.
- Liability insurance covers two main areas: bodily injury and property damage.
- Bodily injury coverage will cover the cost of any injuries you're legally liable for in an accident. This may include medical bills and lost income, for example.
- Property damage will cover the costs of any damaged property, including any vehicle repairs or other property wrecked in the accident.
On the other hand, if a driver hits your car and does not carry insurance, you should see what options are available to you through your own insurance. If you believe you didn’t cause an accident, hire a car accident lawyer who can advise you on the proper legal steps to take to recover the compensation you need for your injuries and losses.
Repair damage to your car and get medical benefits faster
Collision coverage can expedite your claim to get your car repaired or replaced faster if the at-fault driver's insurance company is slow to accept responsibility for the accident. Additionally, your policy may provide coverage for any storage charges while your car sits wherever it's towed and for an auto rental as you wait for repairs.
Once you've taken advantage of this coverage, it is up to your insurance company to seek reimbursement from the responsible party's insurer. Coverage for medical treatment may also be available faster if you contact your insurer rather than waiting for the other driver's insurer to compensate you.
The at-fault driver doesn't have insurance
You can be on the hook for covering all your accident-related expenses if the other driver doesn't have car insurance and you fail to report the accident to your insurance company in a timely manner.
You can file a claim with your insurance company under your underinsured motorists/uninsured motorists coverage if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured.
Reporting the accident to the insurance company is not the same thing as filing an injury claim. Reporting the accident to your insurance company can ensure you'll get the coverage you need if you decide to file a claim in the future.
What to Tell Your Insurer After an Accident
When you contact your insurance company, avoid any discussion of fault or injuries. Do your best to stick to the facts and give them only general information about the accident.
Be ready to provide the following information when you contact your insurance company after an accident:
- Your name
- The names of all parties involved in the accident
- The location, time, and date of the crash
- The make and model of all vehicles involved
- Insurance provider and policy information for all involved drivers
While it is okay to share basic information, you can put your case at risk if you talk about specific details concerning what happened to cause the accident, who caused the accident, and what you were doing before the accident. If the insurance agent asks you these questions directly, politely decline until you have obtained a lawyer and tell them you prefer to answer them in a written statement.
A skilled car accident lawyer can draft your written statement with you. Even if you do not plan to file a claim, you may eventually decide to do so, and the at-fault driver's insurance company may take your words out of context and use your statement against you to reduce your settlement award.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident That Wasn't Your Fault
Being in a car accident is a stressful experience, and it can be difficult to know how to proceed if the crash is not your fault. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some steps you should take to protect your rights and best interests.
Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you don't see any injuries, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Car accident injuries like whiplash, concussions, or spinal damage may take time to develop, and scheduling a checkup with your doctor can ensure you get prompt treatment.
You should also undergo an exam for severe internal injuries like bleeding and swelling, which can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated immediately. You need immediate treatment for your health and to protect your legal and financial rights. If you make a claim against the other driver for compensation, seeing a doctor right away will show that your injuries are serious.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer
Once your physical condition is stable enough, seek a free legal consultation with a car accident attorney near you. Once you hire a lawyer, you never have to worry about reporting the accident or saying the wrong thing to any insurance companies.
Hire a car accident lawyer who can handle all communications with insurers, investigate your claim, and obtain evidence of fault on your behalf while you are recovering from injuries. Your lawyer will calculate your damages and negotiate a fair settlement with the appropriate insurers, including your own, when necessary.
Many people believe they can handle car accident claims on their own, but they regularly end up with much less compensation than they need and deserve. Never leave money on the table or risk having uncovered losses. Seeking legal representation immediately is the best way to protect yourself financially after a crash.
Report the Accident to Your Insurer
Even if you believe you were not at fault for the accident, your attorney should contact your insurance company.
Telling your insurer about the accident can protect you if the at-fault party denies responsibility for the accident or if their insurance was not valid at the time of the crash and you need to file a collision claim with your own insurance company.
If you have collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for repairing or replacing your vehicle.
File a Third-Party Insurance Claim
When someone else is to blame, you must file a claim with their auto insurance company. The at-fault driver's insurer will assign an adjuster to your case. The adjuster will then investigate the accident, assign fault, and estimate how much your injuries and damages are worth.
If the other driver is ultimately responsible for the accident, their insurance should cover the cost of damage to your car, lost income, and accident-related medical expenses. However, insurance company adjusters regularly use tactics to jeopardize your chances of receiving a fair payout. They want to limit your settlement and retain money for the company whenever possible.
Having an attorney who can handle all communication with the at-fault driver's insurer is critical. Insurers know they cannot use the same tactics on experienced car accident lawyers as they can on unrepresented claimants. When your attorney handles everything, the process goes smoother and usually results in a greater settlement. Further, it allows you to focus on your medical treatment and physical recovery.
Know Your Legal Options to File a Lawsuit
If the at-fault driver's insurer says they have no evidence of its policyholder's fault, they may ask you to seek payment from your insurer. Most states have outlawed insurers from denying claims without conducting a thorough investigation of the accident; however, if the at-fault driver's insurance company denies responsibility or fails to provide you with a fair settlement offer, you have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver gives you the opportunity to prove your losses and, if necessary, have a jury determine if you should receive compensation. Most cases do not make it to trial, as insurers might offer a fair settlement following the discovery phase of litigation.
You need a skilled litigator who knows how to persuasively handle discovery and pretrial settlement negotiations. In the event your case goes to court, your lawyer needs experience handling car accident trials against insurance companies.
Protect Your Rights: Hire a Car Accident Lawyer Today
The best way to protect your rights and pursue fair compensation is to hire an experienced car accident attorney with the right skills, resources, and knowledge to handle your case.
Contact a law firm near you to schedule a consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers who will work diligently to resolve your case and recover the best settlement offer possible.
Never wait to seek legal representation following a crash, especially before you speak with insurance companies, even your own. Case evaluations with car accident attorneys are free.