The vast majority of automobile accidents are relatively minor, of the “fender bender” variety. These involve no real injuries and often little property damage. When people are in these kinds of accidents, they often think it’s not necessary to inform their insurance company, and worry that reporting the accident could lead to higher premiums that they don’t want to pay.
The truth is, failing to report an accident can lead to serious consequences if you’re caught. Learn why it’s always a good idea to inform your insurance company after an accident, and why you should have the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
When to Report an Accident
Anytime you are in an accident with the slightest chance that an insurance claim might be filed, you should report the incident to your insurer. This means every accident where someone else was involved, whether it was an injury or property damage, you should report it to your insurance company. Even if the other driver says it’s nothing and don’t worry about it, you never know when they’ll change their mind.
What about if you’re the only person involved and the only property damage is to your own vehicle? You may be injured and not realize it. Often, injuries don’t present for days or even weeks after an auto accident. This is why it’s important, not only to get checked out by a doctor but to call your insurer just in case you decide to file a claim later.
Failing to report the accident could result in higher premiums, in having coverage for your accident refused, or even in your insurance company dropping you altogether.
Talking to Your Insurer
Most insurance policies give you a 72-hour window to report an accident, but your policy may have provisions that are specific to your insurer, so be sure to review it carefully. Always report the accident as soon as possible.
When you talk to your insurer, be honest and clear about what happened in the accident. Don’t omit anything, don’t add anything and don’t try to embellish, downplay or interpret anything. Stick to the facts. Honesty is always the best policy in these cases, and it’s no time for emotional triggers.
Talking to the Other Company
You may be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company. In this case, don’t volunteer any information and be careful how much you reveal.
You’re in your rights to refuse to answer their questions before speaking with legal counsel, and you can refer them to your attorney. Never sign anything they put in front of you and be very careful about what you say. They are looking for reasons to refuse payment.
Calling a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, your best bet is to seek the services of a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer. Most good accident attorneys will not charge a fee unless they win your case, and they can save you from expensive and costly mistakes in dealing with insurance companies who have clever ways of tricking you into doing or saying something that could negate your claim.
At Lewis & Keller, we have decades of experience representing North Carolina accident victims and have achieved millions in settlements. If you are in need of legal representation, contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.