Reporting for Auto Insurance After an Accident
Do you know what to do if you’re injured in an automobile accident? What if you’ve been in an accident but you’re not injured? Insurance can be complex to wrap your head around, especially if your head was banged up in an accident. This guide will help you navigate the actions you need to take.
Who Should You File With?
In a “tort” state, bodily injury insurance is third-party insurance. This means that it is paid for by the party at fault and covers the cost of injuries suffered by those who were not. For example, if you’re hit and suffer knee problems, the other driver’s bodily injury coverage will pay your medical bills, or at least a fraction of them.
If you’re injured in a no-fault state, your own personal injury protection policy or everyday health insurance will be responsible for covering your injuries.
Immediately after the crash, take photos of all the damage and, if possible, the positioning of the vehicles. Make sure to get multiple angles. If you’re not physically capable, ask a friend or relative to do it for you. Documentation of the scene will be especially important whether you make a claim or sue the other driver.
See a Doctor
Even if you don’t feel like anything is wrong following an accident, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Tell them what happened and describe any abnormal movements or forces that you experienced. Make sure your doctor makes a note of it in the medical report. When and if you choose to file, thorough medical documentation will be necessary.
Be Careful What You Sign
Check the statute of limitations in your state for filing an auto accident claim with an insurer. In most states, the limitation is two to six years. When you file a claim, the insurer will often try to get you to sign a waiver of liability so the company won’t have to pay any further costs relating to the accident from that point on. If the condition worsens or requires extra treatment down the road (but within the statute of limitations), you’ll have to look elsewhere to cover the costs. While waiting may make your case more difficult to claim, it will ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation available.
Speak With a Lawyer
Any insurance adjusters you speak to may make claims about the law regarding your particular scenario. Whatever they say, remember that they have the company’s best interest in mind, not yours. After the accident, if you’re unsure of anything regarding your injuries, speak to a lawyer who you can trust. For example, if you have incurred an injury that will likely require long-term treatment extending beyond the bounds of the statute of limitations, a lawyer will be able to tell you what your best course of action is.
What If Insurance Doesn’t Cover It?
If you’re injured and the other driver’s insurance (or yours in a no-fault state) doesn’t cover your medical costs, you’ll probably have to sue for damages. However, keep in mind that the other driver may not have significant enough assets to cover your costs. If that’s the case, the expenses of a lawsuit may not be worth it.