You are rear-ended while waiting at a stoplight. The driver who hit you barely applied the brakes before slamming into your back bumper. In this scenario, should you report the accident to your own auto insurance company?
The answer is yes. Regardless of who is responsible, every insurance provider requires notice. It doesn’t matter if the collision caused serious property damage or bodily injury. Every insurance carrier stipulates that their insured clients provide notification when an event happens that could potentially result in a claim or legal action.
It is just as important to seek the advice of a Lafayette personal injury lawyer – someone who can evaluate your situation and devise a strategy on how best to approach your case.
Notify your insurance carrier regardless of who is at fault
The deadline for notifying your insurance company depends on the language in your policy. In some cases, you may be required to call within a few days, particularly if injuries were sustained. Keep in mind that car insurance policies are essentially contracts. Almost all policies have time requirements for reporting accidents, whether you’re at fault, or not. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re filing a claim against your insurance. That will hinge upon other circumstances– like whether the at-fault driver was insured or not.
Although Louisiana requires all vehicle owners to maintain minimum liability insurance, an estimated one in every eight people drives around without coverage.
Protect your rights after a traffic accident
It’s a common misconception that notifying your carrier is not necessary because the at-fault party’s insurance will take care of your claim. Not true. If your insurance carrier is not informed about the wreck, it can potentially and legally avoid the obligations outlined in the policy.
The first thing to do after any traffic accident is to call 911. The police officer will review the accident scene and write an official report. This report will be useful if liability is contested, or litigation ensues.
No matter the cause of your collision, you can benefit from talking with a qualified injury attorney.
At the law office of Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, we handle motor vehicle accident claims throughout the state of Louisiana. We understand that accident victims are often confused about what steps to take after a car wreck. Our accomplished legal team has been advocating for people just like you since 1997 and can help you navigate the claims process, and handle all negotiations with insurance companies.
Do’s and don’ts when talking to the insurance company
As a policyholder, you expect your insurance company to be on your side. While you should report an accident, where you were not at-fault, bear in mind that adjusters and insurance representatives are in the business of making a profit, and do not have your best interests at heart.
Insurance companies– both your own and the carrier of the at-fault party– could try and get a recorded statement about the nature of the accident. This is not recommended without first speaking to a reputable personal injury attorney because statements may be taken out of context, or misconstrued to minimize a legitimate claim.
Dealing with insurance adjusters after a wreck can be a nightmare, even if you were not at fault. When in doubt, let attorney Bart Bernard and his team explain your rights and outline the best steps to take.
Schedule a free case evaluation
Without capable legal representation, you are unlikely to obtain a fair settlement from a third party or your insurance claim. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, it’s worth scheduling a free legal consult with Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers to discuss your options. Schedule a free, one-on-one consultation with a Lafayette car accident lawyer who is dedicated to your success. There is no risk involved since we take all cases on a contingency basis– you pay nothing unless we secure damages in your case.