Following a serious car accident, you may have a lot of things that you need to take care of. At the top of your list: getting in touch with insurance to determine what coverage you have from the accident.
You did not cause the accident. You may even have a clear report designating the other driver at fault for the accident. Whose insurance company should you contact? Do you have to report an accident to your insurance company if you did not cause it?
After your car accident, especially if you faced serious property damage or severe injuries, get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer first. Then, let your attorney take care of reporting your accident to the insurance company.
Which Company Needs to Know About the Accident?
The insurance provider that pays out compensation for damages associated with an auto accident needs to know about the accident, the repercussions, and what damages you need to claim. Sometimes, however, your accident may require a complex investigation before either party knows who will bear responsibility for paying out compensation for specific details of the accident.
Your attorney can conduct that investigation, notify the relevant insurance companies, and maximize the odds that you will receive the compensation you deserve for those accidents.
The Auto Insurance Company That Covers the Liable Driver
The auto insurance company that covers the liable driver may serve as the first line of payment for damages to your vehicle following an auto accident. For example, if you have an accident with a driver who, distracted by a text message, rear-ended you, or sideswiped you, you will likely need to pursue compensation through that insurance company.
As a result, your attorney will notify that insurance company about the extent of the damages you faced and how much compensation you are pursuing as a result of those damages. Your attorney may also offer evidence that the other driver caused the accident, which can help secure your right to compensation.
Another Insurance Company That Covers a Party Liable for the Accident
In many auto accidents, more than one party may bear liability for the accident. Suppose, for example, that you have an accident involving a commercial truck driver. On investigation, your attorney may uncover the fact that the truck driver had exceeded the federally limited number of hours they can spend on the road during each shift.
Their company not only encourages this behavior, it may mandate it if the driver, for some reason, cannot meet their deadlines within the number of hours they should spend on the road each shift. The company may, therefore, bear liability for the accident. The trucking company will typically carry insurance that can help provide compensation to anyone who suffers injuries due to the company’s negligence.
Likewise, suppose that a mechanical defect in the vehicle, caused by the manufacturer’s error, led to your accident. The vehicle manufacturer may share liability for the accident, and you may have the right to pursue compensation through the manufacturer for your injuries. As a result, your attorney may need to pursue compensation through the manufacturer’s insurance company or the manufacturer directly.
The Insurance Company That Provides Your PIP Coverage
Florida law mandates that drivers must carry personal injury protection coverage, which will help provide compensation for the initial medical costs associated with your accident. If you suffered serious injuries in the accident, you may need to notify your insurance company about the extent of those injuries to receive approval for those costs. Your PIP coverage may also offer some help with your lost wages and other costs associated with your accident and your injuries.
Why Your Insurance Company May Need to Know About Your Car Accident
You did not cause your car accident, but you may still need to make sure that your insurance company knows about it. Your attorney may need to contact your insurance company for several important reasons.
You Need to Pursue Compensation Through Your Insurance
Even if you did not cause the accident, you may need to pursue compensation through your insurance company.
- You need to use your PIP coverage. Your personal injury protection coverage can go a long way toward alleviating the initial medical expenses associated with your accident. It may also offer some provision for your lost wages or the other expenses you may face while dealing with your injuries and your accident claim. PIP coverage offers no-fault protection: it does not matter who caused the accident, only that you need to use that coverage as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident.
- The other driver did not have insurance. More than 20 percent of Florida drivers do not carry auto insurance. If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, you may need to use your uninsured motorist coverage to offer protection for some of the expenses associated with your accident, including repairing your vehicle.
- The other driver did not carry adequate insurance. Even if you suffer injuries in an accident with a driver that has insurance, it does not necessarily mean that the driver’s insurance will provide the coverage and protection you deserve for your injuries. Florida drivers who carry only minimum auto insurance may offer just $10,000 in liability coverage. If the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle exceeds that coverage, you could find yourself facing immense expenses that the other party’s insurance company does not cover. If you carry underinsured motorist protection, on the other hand, it could offer the compensation you need to repair or replace your vehicle and start rebuilding after your accident.
You Need to Change or Cancel Your Policy
Sometimes, after an auto accident, you may need to change or cancel your policy. You may discover that you do not currently have adequate coverage for your needs and that you want to make sure you have more insurance in case of future accidents. If your accident totaled your vehicle, you may need to cancel your policy to avoid future costs associated with it.
Why Let an Attorney Take Care of the Conversation For You?
Notifying insurance companies about the aftermath of a car accident might sound like just one more item you have to check off your To-Do list, but it may be one of the most important steps in your car accident claim—and you want to make sure it takes place correctly. You may already have decided that you want an experienced car accident attorney to handle your claim, which can make it easier for you to pursue the compensation you really deserve. You may also want to utilize that car accident attorney to connect with the insurance companies on your behalf, whether you need to contact only the liable party’s insurance company or you need to get in touch with your insurance company to use your coverage as part of your auto accident claim.
An attorney can help avoid mistakenly accepting partial or full liability for the accident.
Sometimes, even small sayings or statements you might take for granted might lead to you inadvertently accepting partial liability for the accident. Some drivers simply try to stay too “nice” while dealing with the insurance company. They might want to take some of the guilt off the driver’s shoulders, saying, after all, “These things happen.”
In dealing with the liable driver’s insurance company, however, you do not want to stick with “nice.” Instead, you need to let the insurance company know exactly who’s negligence caused the accident and what compensation you expect as a result. A lawyer can help avoid any question related to liability, from saying the right things to ensuring that you put your claim forward the right way.
An attorney can avoid any statements that might minimize the impact of your injuries.
Some insurance agents may attempt to use small talk against you in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You call in to discuss your claim, and the insurance agent wants to know how your recovery has progressed or makes small talk about your weekend plans. While chatting, you might reveal that you have exciting plans for the weekend, from getting out of the house for a concert to spending time with friends and loved ones.
You have already made those plans to account for your injuries—and you may know full well that they will limit your enjoyment of the occasion anyway—but out of a sense of “politeness,” you try to avoid saying anything about those limitations. The insurance agent, however, may attempt to use that conversation to prove that your injuries do not cause the suffering you claim, which could minimize the settlement you may ultimately recover for those injuries.
An attorney can help streamline the process of filing your car accident claim.
Insurance companies often throw challenges in your way to help delay processing your claim. They may try to minimize the compensation they have to offer you, or they may try to wear you down by dragging the process out as long as possible. By having an attorney contact the insurance company, however, you can minimize those potential delays. Often, an attorney can cut through the red tape, streamline your claim, and help you get the compensation you deserve for your accident in your hands faster.
An attorney can help determine how much compensation you should pursue for your injuries.
By the time the claim moves to the point of contacting an insurance representative, your attorney can help determine how much compensation you should pursue for your injuries. They would have taken a look at your injuries, your medical costs, and what challenges you have faced while dealing with your injuries and would have come up with a solid number in mind that helps incorporate the losses you have faced.
You may not have that advantage on your own. You may have a general idea of what your medical costs look like, but no idea how to calculate compensation for pain and suffering. Furthermore, you may not know how much coverage the insurance company will actually provide, or even when you need to contact your own insurance company instead of working with the other driver’s insurance.
Your attorney, on the other hand, knows how much compensation you should pursue, including the limits of the insurance policy and the extent of your injuries, and can negotiate from that position.
An attorney can help alleviate much of the stress associated with your claim.
Dealing with insurance companies often causes more stress than any other element of your accident. You may feel pressured to accept a settlement fast or pushed to accept some liability for the accident. You may feel that your version of events gets questioned over and over again, or you may have a hard time dealing with the constant questions coming your way. Often, calls from the insurance agent may arrive at what feels like the worst possible moment, leaving you scrambling to decide what you want to do next or how to handle the call.
An attorney can help alleviate a great deal of the stress that goes along with that process. When you work with a car accident attorney after your accident, the attorney becomes the primary point of contact for the claim. That means you will not have to deal with the claim on your own and can focus on your recovery, rather than fielding calls from insurance agents who do not aim to make your life any easier.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you have faced severe property damage or serious injuries as a result of your car accident, do not attempt to handle your claim on your own. Instead, contact an attorney to learn more about your rights, including your right to compensation. You can start with a free consultation to learn more about your rights and what comes next in your claim, which means you can make those vital decisions based on information from an experienced attorney who knows your rights.