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Do I Report an Accident to My Insurance If It Wasn’t My Fault?

By December 10, 2023January 7th, 2024No Comments

You’re sitting at a traffic light, and suddenly, an SUV smashes into you from behind. It’s clear the other driver caused the accident, but that doesn’t make this a less stressful and upsetting experience.

Should you call the police and report the accident to insurance if you weren’t at fault?

Read on to learn more about how to handle insurance companies after an accident that wasn’t your fault.

A California car accident attorney can assist you if you have questions about a potential car accident claim. Seek representation from an attorney highly experienced with auto accident insurance negotiations who will seek the most money possible for your damages.

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Your Insurer Should Know About Your Accident

Your insurance company should always know if you have been in an accident, even if someone else was to blame.

If you learn the other driver is uninsured/underinsured or they flee the scene, you might have to rely on your coverage for some or all of your compensation. If you do not report the crash, you might violate the terms of your policy, eliminating the possibility of coverage down the road.

However, you should never report the accident yourself. If you have injuries and property damage, you must protect your interests, and certain things you say might go against a future claim.

Instead, have your car accident attorney contact your insurer and alert them of the accident. They know how to handle these communications to protect your rights.

Collision Auto Insurance

Collision insurance is the first insurance you may need to use after an accident that wasn’t your fault.

If the other driver’s insurance company questions their client’s liability, you might need to get your car repaired with your own collision coverage. Then, your auto insurance company can subrogate the claim to seek reimbursement from the other company.

If no one reports the accident, you might lose this coverage for the crash and have to cover your own auto repairs, then haggle with the other insurance company for a settlement. Meanwhile, you might need to pay thousands of dollars to cover your vehicle repairs.

Rental Car Coverage

Many drivers have rental car coverage on their auto insurance policy. If you opted for rental car coverage, the only way to use it is to report the accident.

Towing Insurance

Towing insurance pays the cost of taking your car to a repair facility. Assuming the accident was the other person’s fault, your insurance company will demand reimbursement from the other insurance company.

Without your towing insurance coverage, you may need to pay for towing out of pocket, which can be a few hundred dollars. Towing coverage can help a lot.

Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)

UM/UIM coverage is mandatory in some states and optional in others, but it is always a wise choice. This rider on your insurance policy covers your damages if the other driver is underinsured or uninsured. This coverage also may be essential if the other driver flees the accident scene. The only way you can use UM/UIM coverage is to have your lawyer report your insurance company after the accident.

Medical Expense Insurance (Med Pay)

Did you suffer injuries in the collision? If so, consider using medical expense coverage on your insurance policy if you have it. This rider will pay for your medical bills up to policy limits.

If the other driver was at fault, your insurance company will likely seek reimbursement later from the other insurer. Many states have laws that say the insurance company cannot raise your rates if you use Med Pay coverage.

Your Insurance Company Can Become an Adversary if You File a Claim

If it turns out you must file an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim, your insurance company, typically seen as an ally, can sometimes become an opponent.

While these claims should protect you when the at-fault party lacks adequate insurance, challenges may arise, including:

  • Claim Denial or Undervaluation: Insurers may deny UM/UIM claims or undervalue the damages, leaving you with insufficient compensation.
  • Policy Interpretation Disputes: Disputes may arise over the interpretation of policy terms, coverage limits, or the extent of damages eligible for compensation.
  • Delay Tactics: Insurers might use delay tactics, prolonging the claims process and adding stress to an already challenging situation.
  • Claim Reduction Strategies: Insurance companies may employ strategies to reduce claim amounts, disputing the necessity of certain medical treatments or the severity of injuries.

Navigating UM/UIM claims can be legally complex, requiring expertise to counter the insurer’s tactics and negotiate a fair settlement.

In such situations, it becomes crucial to have legal representation. A skilled car accident attorney can advocate on your behalf to your insurer, challenging claim denials, negotiating with the insurance company, and, if necessary, pursuing legal action.

By having an experienced advocate, you can protect your rights, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve when dealing with your insurance company in UM/UIM claims. Remember your insurance company wants to protect its bottom line, even if you are a policyholder.

Should You Call The Other Driver’s Insurance Company?

No. Never call the other driver’s insurance company. If you need to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance provider, having an auto accident attorney handle it is best. The other driver’s insurance company isn’t your friend.

The insurance adjuster for the other driver may call you within a few days and want a recorded statement. If you’ve already hired a personal injury attorney, you should tell the adjuster you have a lawyer and to talk to them. The insurance adjuster can get whatever they need from your attorney.

If the insurance company needs to speak with you later, you always have the right to have your attorney with you.

Use caution when giving a recorded statement if you don’t have a lawyer. The insurance company may use what you say against you. They might even say they can’t do anything about your claim without a recorded statement.

This is false.

The adjuster may also seem friendly and caring about your well-being, but their goal is to devalue and deny your claim, so it is always best to say as little as possible and refer them to your attorney.

Also, be prepared for the insurance adjuster to ask leading questions that may make it appear that you were partially at fault. Or, they can ask questions meant to confuse you or get you to say something that hurts your claim.

For instance, the adjuster can ask “How do you feel?”

If you say, “Fine,” the insurance adjuster can misconstrue your answer to mean you aren’t hurt.

Having your personal injury attorney handle the other driver’s insurance company is always best. Let your lawyer tell your version of events so you can get the best outcome for your case.

Shady Insurance Company Tactics To Avoid Paying Claims

Shady Insurance Company Tactics To Avoid Paying ClaimsInsurance companies are known to use many shady tactics to avoid paying claims. In addition to demanding a recorded statement and twisting your words, they might try to get you to settle for a minuscule amount.

If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you within a day of the accident, be prepared for the adjuster to offer to pay for your medical bills and wrap the case up quickly.

Don’t fall for it!

Low-Ball Settlements

Here’s what the insurance company is up to: They want to get your signature on a settlement before you talk to a car accident attorney. If they can get you to jump at a low-ball offer, they can save thousands of dollars on your claim.

Always talk to a car accident attorney before settling a claim. Most attorneys offer a free consultation and will inform you if you have a case, so you have nothing to lose.

Don’t Sign Away Your Rights

Insurance adjusters also tell injured parties that they don’t need an attorney and that the insurance company will take care of them. However, the insurance company is only motivated to lower your case value, so always talk to your lawyer before signing any settlement agreement.

Stalling Or Delaying The Claim

Another tactic by insurance adjusters is to stall or delay the claim. The insurance company likely knows you have damage and injuries. You might also be out of work. They will try to use your need for money against you. They may not return your calls or emails or ask for information you have already provided. The goal is to wear you down with delays and information requests. With enough roadblocks, some weary claimants might give up on the matter.

However, once you have a seasoned auto accident attorney on your side, most insurance companies know that their shady tactics are useless. Your attorney will brush aside these methods and demand the most money for your losses.

Sometimes, you can even have grounds to file a bad-faith insurance claim. All insurers have legal and ethical obligations to act in good faith with claimants. If they cross the line in delaying or reducing the value of your case, you can be entitled to bad faith damages in addition to car accident damages.

How An Auto Accident Attorney Can Help You

You aren’t required to hire an attorney after a car accident that wasn’t your fault, but doing so is often a smart idea. Car accidents may cause severe property damage and injuries that take years to heal and affect your ability to work and enjoy life.

An attorney can do many things to benefit your case, including the following:

Obtain More Compensation For You

The main job of your car accident attorney is to obtain the most money for your damages in these categories:

  • Current medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)
  • Lost earnings and lost ability to earn if you’re disabled
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

Your attorney is highly skilled in negotiating with insurance companies for maximum compensation. They also are experienced litigators and know how to take a case to court and win, if necessary.

Help You Understand Your Legal Rights

Most injured parties aren’t legal authorities and may not understand personal injury law. Because of this, you might not understand your legal rights when you’re in a crash that wasn’t your fault.

If the other driver hits you, they should have to pay for your property damage and other losses. Your attorney can review all relevant laws in your state and help you understand what you are entitled to.

Fully Value Your Claim

What is a car accident case worth with a totaled vehicle and serious injuries? Most people wouldn’t know. If you attempt to negotiate a settlement with the other insurance company, you will probably leave a lot of money on the table.

Your auto accident attorney cannot guarantee what you will receive in a settlement or verdict, but they have a rough idea of your case worth and will fight for every dime. Once your attorney knows the approximate case value, they will negotiate aggressively with the insurance company.

If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, the attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit and going to court.

Car Accident Attorneys Work on Contingency

How can you afford a car accident attorney when injured and unemployed? Most auto accident attorneys use contingency agreements, which means they aren’t paid until your case is settled or a verdict is reached. They receive a percentage of whatever you recover, so you don’t pay any out-of-pocket legal expenses by hiring a car accident attorney.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney Today For Assistance

Car Accident Attorney, Russell Reiner

Russell Reiner, Car Accident Attorney

Being in a car accident is frightening and stressful, but an experienced auto accident attorney can help your situation. If your case qualifies, you can receive compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more.

Speak to a skilled personal injury lawyer near you in a free consultation. They can advise you of your rights and handle all insurance communications and negotiations.

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