How to Report an Automobile Accident to Insurance Companies
When a person suffers a personal injury as a result of an automobile accident in Florida, there is often a question as to whether the accident needs to be reported to the injury victim’s automobile insurance company.
The answer is that you should absolutely report it. However, it is very wise to seek the advice of personal injury attorney before giving any statements to an insurance company.
When a person owns or drives an automobile and takes out of an insurance policy, a contract is formed. Under the terms of most every automobile insurance policies, there is a “duty of cooperation.”
This means that the insured person must cooperate and provide timely information to insurance company. This information regards any automobile accidents that might ultimately require the payment of monies under the insurance policy.
Because of these provisions, an injury victim must timely report accidents to his or her insurance company.
This does not necessarily mean that the automobile accident has to be reported within 24 or 48 hours. But it does mean that the accident must be reported in a timely manner so that the insurance company is not prejudiced by the investigation or future handling of any claims made under the policy.
In many instances, the injury victim may have an adversary claim or case against his or her automobile insurance company.
In other words, there is a fight or dispute between the injury victim and his or her insurance company about the amount of payment or compensation.
Because of this, initial statements and any subsequent information provided to an injury victim’s insurance policy can have a great impact on the claim or case itself.
Should You Retain a Lawyer When Reporting an Automobile Accident?
It is often helpful and wise to have the advice, consultation, and legal representation from a Florida Personal Injury Attorney.
It is important to first consult with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney about the rights of the injury victim. And, about the the responsibilities of the insurance companies BEFORE providing a recorded or unrecorded statement.
If the injury victim retains the services of a personal injury attorney, the claim can be reported by the attorney. This can, in turn, reduce the stress and uncertainty by the injury victim of providing the initial statement of the facts and issues to the automobile insurance company.
Insurance companies and insurance adjusters have a duty to document the file, investigate the claim, and pay out benefits when the insurance company determines that the medical bills and expenses are reasonable and necessary as related to the automobile accident.
It should be noted that an insurance adjuster’s duty or allegiance is to the insurance company.
While insurance adjusters should act in good faith and should handle a claim with due diligence and professionalism, the insurance adjuster reports to the insurance company and not to the injury victim.
Should the Injury Victim Give a Statement to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
After a Florida automobile accident, injury victims often face many challenges and issues.
It is common for insurance company to contact the injury victim to obtain a statement and other information regarding injuries. This brings about the following question:
Should I give a statement to the insurance company for the at-fault driver?
Most attorneys who handle personal injury cases will advise against giving such a statement. At least until the injury victim consults with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney.
There is no legal duty to provide a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company in most instances. However, there are some exceptions
to this general rule.
Because of the complexities of automobile accident and injury laws and the nuances of insurance and compensation, it is important for a person to seek advice and consultation from a Florida Personal Injury Attorney following an automobile accident.
Most attorneys handle these cases on the contingency basis meaning no recovery, no attorney fees.
Furthermore, most Florida Personal Injury Attorneys will provide a free consultation to the injury victim.
At Wood, Atter and Wolf, we strive to solve the most important problems created by an automobile accident.
The proven methods we employ create a working environment that allows both parties to resolve their differences.