When should you report an accident?

We call motor vehicle crashes “accidents” because they are thought to be unexpected and unintentional. However, when you drive with your eyes somewhere other than on the road (radio, cell phone, etc.), you cannot say that a crash is “unexpected.”

Before your next fender bender, be sure you understand when you should inform your insurance company and when you should resist the temptation to put in for a claim and pay out of pocket.

When a crash occurs, there are numerous things to think through:

  • Move your vehicle safely off or to the side of the road;
  • Turn on flashers;
  • Check for injuries;
  • Summon medical help as needed;
  • Call the police.

From the insurance perspective:

  • Obtain the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, plate number, and insurance information of any other drivers involved
  • Obtain the names of anyone with injuries and any witnesses;
  • If possible, take photos of the scene

Should you report the accident?

If the accident involves another vehicle (as 7 in 10 accidents do), then you may have a duty to contact your insurance company. Understand, your interests and your insurance company’s interests may not be the same, given that they are in the business and you are not.

They will want to know your version of the accident and will want to know about any injuries you may have sustained.  It may seem reasonable at the time, but injuries often don’t manifest until a day or two later. If you tell them soon after an accident that you are not hurt, this may cause some serious issues later should your pain onset be delayed.

In fact, the number one problem we see is when an accident victim decides to give a recorded statement prior to attorney involvement. Once recorded, that record cannot be un-done.  Does that imply that responses with the advice of an attorney would be false?  Absolutely not.  Insurance companies craft their claims questionnaires very carefully to lure claimants into responses that may well compromise a claim.  The involvement of an experienced accident attorney will assure that the questioning is fair, and the responses clear.

It is crucial that the claim get off on the right foot.  Having an experienced accident lawyer puts you on the best footing for this to occur.

Brought to you by Northeast Classic Auto Insurance. Please always be safe and for more information contact us at http://classiccarinsurance.com/ or call (800) 866-6440

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