When Should A Car Accident Be Reported To The Police?
Reporting a car accident to the police would seem to be something you should do automatically. However, there are some instances where you might not need to do so. Whether or not you need to file a report depends on several different factors.
Thankfully, the majority of car wrecks are nothing more than minor “fender benders” that result in only slight-to-moderate property damage and no injuries. However, if that damage is major (typically anything more than $1,000 or $2,500) or any type of injury has occurred, then reporting a car accident to the police will be mandatory.
The first thing you need to do if you have been involved in a car accident is to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If, however, the other motorist is either uncooperative or does not have insurance, then you will need to contact your local law enforcement agency and report the accident.
There are some instances where the other driver might be cooperative, but there is an honest dispute as to the cause of the accident. This is another case where reporting a car accident to the police is a good idea. An officer will be dispatched to investigate the accident and interview witnesses and other drivers.
Even if you feel fine after a car wreck, reporting a car accident to the police will always be a good idea. The reason is you might actually have an injury that can take a long time to develop, such as whiplash. If you do not immediately report the accident and then get an examination from a doctor, you might have a difficult time obtaining compensation for any potential medical expenses.
Do I Need To Report My Car Accident To My Insurance Company?
Reporting a car accident to your insurance company is a must for many reasons. In fact, it should be your first priority after getting medical attention for anyone who may have been seriously hurt, exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver and then talking to your doctor to see if you have suffered any type of injury. These are just a few of the reasons why this is so important.
While it is important to get in touch with your insurance carrier after a car accident, you can do it once you get back home or the next day. You might need a little time to deal with the trauma of the wreck, and that is understandable. However, you need to contact your provider as soon as you can.
For example, your car might have suffered extensive damage, and you will need a rental while your vehicle is being repaired. Depending on the type of coverage you purchased, your carrier may pay for the cost of the rental — but they obviously cannot do so until you notify them of the accident.
Getting in touch with your insurer will also be important if you have suffered any sort of injury. Again, depending on the kind of coverage you have, your carrier might help pay for your medical bills. Reporting a car accident to your insurance company will be vital even if there was little to no property damage and you feel fine. There are many types of injuries suffered in vehicle accidents that can take a long time to develop. If you do not promptly report the accident to your provider, you might find it difficult to obtain the compensation for medical expenses to which you are entitled.
What To Do If Someone Else’s Insurance Company Calls Me About My Injuries?
You have been in a car accident. You are focusing on all the things you need to do to move forward, such as taking care of your injuries, getting your car fixed and filing all the necessary paperwork. You answer your phone one day and, to your surprise, you find yourself speaking with an insurance company that is not your own. They represent another person involved in the accident. What should you do?
If this situation occurs, you need to know exactly how to respond. It is important you protect yourself and your rights when you have been in a car accident.
TIPS FOR TALKING WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY CONTACT
If you get a call from another insurance company, first remember to stay calm and be polite. Before you answer any questions, ask the person for their name, title and the name of the company they work for and write down this information. Take notes throughout your conversation on the topics you discuss.
You will want to give out the bare minimum of information. Offering your name, address and phone number are fine. However, you should not volunteer details about:
- The accident itself, including how it happened
- Any injuries you incurred
- Your own insurance claim
- Whether you have discussed the case with a lawyer
Make it clear when you end the conversation that you would prefer limited telephone contact in the future. Under no circumstances should you agree to settle while on the phone with the other company. They may push you to do so, as it is in their own interests to limit the amount paid out. But you likely deserve much more than they will offer you, so you should refuse a hasty settlement option.
CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY ABOUT YOUR ACCIDENT
If you remain uneasy about what to do if another insurance company calls, you should speak with an experienced lawyer about your case. Contact KBG Injury Law for a free consultation.
What If My Vehicle Accident Injuries Do Not Show Up Right Away?
There are many instances where vehicle accident injuries are not immediately obvious after the wreck occurs. However, just because symptoms do not readily appear, that does not mean symptoms will not appear later. These are just some of the reasons why you might not feel injured soon after the accident — and what to do should you eventually realize you have been hurt.
A car accident can be a traumatic event, and the adrenalin and endorphins your body releases could mask an injury. Just like many athletes can continue playing in a game after they are hurt, your body generates chemicals that can block pain. You might feel a heightened excitement level and increased energy that can make you think you are fine. However, once those chemicals wear off, there is a chance that pain may set in.
Whiplash is one of the most common vehicle accident injuries that can take quite some time to develop. This is a soft-tissue injury that occurs when the neck muscles are affected by a sudden, forceful movement of the head. This and other soft-tissue injuries often reduce mobility and also lead to significant swelling and pain, taking days or even weeks to develop.
If you are involved in a car accident, you need to see a doctor as soon as you can — even if you think you feel fine. He or she will let you know what types of vehicle accident injuries you may have suffered as well as the symptoms you need to be aware of that could indicate a significant problem.
After the wreck, you will probably be contacted by an insurance company representative who will try and get you to agree to a settlement. Never sign away your rights — always speak to an attorney first. You might have a serious injury that has yet to manifest itself and will result in substantial monetary expenses.
Should I Bring A Claim For My Injuries?
You may be thinking, “I’m not the suing type,” or, “There are too many lawsuits already.” Bringing an insurance claim does not mean that you’re filing a lawsuit. The vast majority of our cases settle favorably without filing a lawsuit. Nonetheless, you may hesitate to bring an insurance claim for fear of being seen as being the suing type. Rest assured, the people we represent are just like you: honest, good citizens, who wish that the accident had never happened, and just want to be treated fairly by the adverse insurance company.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as every other state in the Union, requires that drivers carry insurance. It’s the law. And the reason for that law is simple: so that there is a pool of money available to compensate people who suffer damages as a result of another driver’s negligence. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you choose not to bring a claim, you’re not helping the other driver, and you’re certainly not helping yourself. You’re merely helping the insurance companies. You’re essentially saying to them, “I know that we’re all required to buy insurance from you, and that money is there to compensate me for my injuries, but I’d really rather that you keep it for your profits, instead of using it for its intended purposes—fair compensation.”
How Is Fault Determined In A Car Accident?
Determining fault in a car accident has different ramifications in Pennsylvania than in most other states. The reason is Pennsylvania is considered a “no-fault state.” This means if you have to file a lawsuit after a wreck, you will not be suing either the other driver or his or her insurance company. You will actually be suing your own insurance carrier because you feel they are not providing you with the proper amount of coverage.
If you are involved in an accident in Pennsylvania and are hurt, your insurance is supposed to pay for your medical expenses up to a certain amount. However, property damage is still based on fault. This means the cost of any repairs to your vehicle that are needed should be covered by the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
There are several types of accidents, of course, and different methods of determining fault in a car accident. One of the most common examples of a car wreck is a parking lot collision. If you are the one backing out of a space and you hit another vehicle — whether it is moving or not — then you will probably be considered to blame. If you and the other driver hit each other simultaneously, then there will likely be no fault found.
The matter of determining fault in a car accident can be complex. As a result, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney if you have been hurt and your insurance company is not cooperating, or if you were involved in a wreck with another driver and there is some sort of dispute.
Answers to Other Common Auto Accident Questions