How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance?

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance?

Even though you may be feeling confused and overwhelmed immediately after being involved in a car accident, you need to breathe deeply and concentrate on some important steps you must take to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers, to preserve your legal rights, and to look after your health. The actions you take while still at the scene may play an important role in how things develop should you decide to file a claim against the liable party. Your car accident lawyer will explain your legal options but through all this, you should keep in mind that your car insurance company should be informed about the accident. Let’s see what the timing of this call should be.

Reporting Your Accident to Your Insurance

Most insurance companies require policyholders to report their accidents within 24 hours. It is understood that if you are seriously hurt and need to be transported by ambulance to the nearest emergency room, you might not be able to make the phone call right away. Yet, you should do so as soon as possible and if your physical condition prevents you from calling, you should make sure someone does you this favor as soon as possible.

Other Actions to Take After Being in a Car Accident

If your injuries allow it, you must remain at the scene of the accident and wait until the police arrive and issue an accident report. Keep in mind that the police might ask you questions and you should always answer courteously but without expanding upon your opinion. Saying too much may have you incriminating yourself. Request a copy of the report to give to your insurance company. Also:

Document the Scene

Having photographs of the damage to the cars and their position on the road as well as of your injuries and of anything that might have contributed to the accident will help strengthen your claim with the insurance company.

Make notes of everything that happened to have an account of the accident including date, time, location, weather, and your version of the events.

Exchange Information

Get the contact information of the other driver as well as their driver’s license and insurance policy. Write down their car’s make, model, year, and license plate. Avoid engaging in conversation with the other driver. Remember that they are not your friend and anything you tell them might later be used against you.

Get Medical Attention

Even if your injuries allow you to stay at the scene and you believe them to be minor, it is important to get a full medical checkup as soon as possible. You may be surprised when your doctor discovers injuries to your organs or internal bleeding. Ignoring these injuries may have fatal consequences. Follow all medical instructions and go to all appointments. Your injuries must be clearly defined in your medical records should you decide to file a claim.

Do Not Sign Any Documents Until You Talk to Your Accident Lawyer

Your insurance company will want to know all the details of the accident and will ask many questions. They may also make you an offer and pressure you into signing a statement saying that you are satisfied with this amount and that you consider the case to be closed.

Your attorney will want to talk to you about the fair value of your claim and will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to fight to get the maximum amount to which you might be entitled.

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