insurance company, even if the wreck was minor. At the time of the collision, you may not always be able to grasp the full extent of injuries you or the other driver has sustained and how badly the car could be damaged.
Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, by reporting it to the insurer, they can work with other insurance companies to handle the details and process your claim without delays.
Why Should You Report the Car Accident to Your Insurance Provider?
Every state limits the time you have for bringing a claim against at-fault driver’s insurance. In Georgia, car accident victims have two years from the accident date to file a claim with the liable insurer, per O.C.G.A.§ 9-3-33.
In a perfect scenario, the driver who hit you will have insurance coverage that compensates for your damages. The problem arises, however, if the other driver is an uninsured or underinsured motorist and cannot provide the money needed to cover your losses. The liable insurer may notify you about the driver’s lapse in coverage only months later.
At this point, you will have to seek coverage from your auto insurance policy for damages if you have uninsured motorist coverage. This optional coverage acts as a substitute in case the at-fault driver does not have sufficient auto insurance. It will cover your economic (financial) and non-economic (non-financial) damages.
If you must tap into your uninsured motorist policy to obtain compensation for your damages, be aware that the contract between you and your insurance company may require you to provide notice of the accident within a specific time frame. For some carriers, this span can be as short as 24 to 72 hours following a crash. Therefore, they may only cover your damages if you notify them within the allotted time frame.
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What Should You Tell Your Insurance Company After the Accident?
When notifying your insurance carrier about the car accident, convey the hard facts. Although it is important to be truthful, it is also essential to only volunteer a little information that could hurt your interests later.
Further, avoid the following:
- Discussing fault: Provide basic details about the accident without mentioning any opinion or addressing fault, even if you think you hold some liability for the wreck. A reason for this is you may need to be made aware if an external party contributed to the accident. For example, if the car crashed because the brake pad malfunctioned, the auto part manufacturer could be held liable for selling a defective part.
- Discussing injuries: Avoid mentioning any definitive statement about your injuries. If you’re asked how you’re doing, stating that you’re fine or feeling OK could prompt insurers to claim you weren’t injured in the accident. Also, even if you do not notice any immediate signs of injuries, there is always a possibility some injuries may have a delayed onset and will manifest days or weeks after the accident.
- Giving recorded statements: The insurance company may ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident. It can use anything you say to devalue your claim and lower the compensation you receive. Refrain from sharing any such statements without consulting an attorney first.
- Providing estimates: Stick to the facts and avoid providing information you aren’t certain about. For example, if you don’t remember how fast you drove before the crash, refrain from delivering an estimate, as this could later hurt your claim.
- Accepting initial offer: Insurance companies sometimes reach out to victims with low settlement offers immediately after the accident. If this happens to you, do not accept this offer without contacting an attorney first. You can speak with an attorney, who can negotiate for fair compensation. You may be entitled to a much higher amount, regardless of whether it’s your own insurance or at-fault driver’s carrier making the offer.
Will a Minor Car Accident Raise Your Insurance Premiums?
If you were the victim in the accident and did not cause the wreck, then your premiums should not go up.
Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 33-9-40) prohibits insurance providers from increasing the premiums of those victims who had no fault in the occurrence of the accident or those who had to use their underinsured or uninsured coverage motorist benefits.
On the other hand, an accident in which you are at fault could raise your insurance premiums.
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Call Us Today for Legal Help After a Small Accident Attorney
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers promptly if you were a victim in a car accident or were blamed for causing a collision. You can do this before contacting your insurance after a small accident. We can review your case, assess your potential for recovering compensation and begin collecting evidence to help you recover the settlement you deserve.
We can also handle the communications with your insurer and the liable party’s insurance provider and negotiate a fair settlement from them on your behalf. Start with a free initial case review by calling our law firm today.