You’ve been in a car wreck involving another vehicle. The damages don’t look that extensive, no one’s been hurt and you both think this is too minor a deal to bother reporting to your respective insurance companies. So is it in your best interests to keep this accident just between you two, and not report it? Like many motorists, you may be worried about what will happen to your insurance rates if you report an accident. There goes your perfect driving record, and up go your premiums, you’re probably thinking. Wouldn’t it be better to just handle the repairs myself or make a deal with the other driver involved, rather than contact my insurance company?
The truth is there are several very good reasons why that’s not such a good idea. You may assume some considerable risks when you opt not to report an accident to your insurance provider. If you have not exchanged personal information, you may not have a path of legal recourse if you decide to file a claim after the fact.
When parties choose not to report an accident, both risk the unknown factors not immediately apparent at the time of the accident. Delayed onset of a physical injury is not uncommon in car crashes or other traumatic accidents. Soft tissue injuries can take several days before their symptoms begin to appear. At the scene of an accident, adrenaline may mask the effects of an injury, making it seem less serious than it really is. Someone who feels OK at the time may discover that they’ve got injuries they need to report. Either you or the other party may have sustained an injury that wasn’t obvious at the time you both agreed not report the accident.
Denial of Coverage
Drivers who are involved in auto accidents sometimes try to work out the damages between themselves to avoid getting their insurance companies involved. The logic is that it will save them money on increased premiums if they were to report the accident. But what if the other driver decides to file a claim anyway? Maybe the damage to their vehicle is more extensive on further inspection, and they realize the cost would be too much to cover themselves. When their claim is filed, your insurance company may deny coverage because you haven’t reported the accident with them.
Cost of Repairs
Insurance agents will in many cases have a preferred body repair center where the work is guaranteed, and the insurance company stands behind the work. Failing to report the accident leaves you having to negotiate repairs on your own, without benefit of the guarantee. It could cost you more in higher repair costs than you thought you’d save on a premium hike, which is really not the case anyway if you weren’t at fault in the first place.
Documenting the Accident
In any accident involving another party, you should always report it to your insurance company, irrespective of the extent of damages or whether any injuries were involved. The risks of going it alone or depending on an agreement with unknown parties to work it out between yourselves just aren’t worth any potential savings you may or may not achieve.
Always collect their personal information – name, address, phone number and insurance carrier. If the accident is an auto accident, you should also request to see their driver’s license to verify the information they are giving you and to record their driver’s license number. Also take note of the model and make of the vehicle and its license plate number. This is the perfect time to put your cell phone camera to use, if you have one. It is quick and easy to gather all the info you need with a couple of clicks of the camera.
If you decide to contact a personal injury attorney following any type of accident – auto accident, slip and fall or a dog bite, the attorney can contact the insurance company for you. Insurance is there to protect those who are injured and cover their expenses. Don’t trust the other person to look out for your interests.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, or have any questions about what to do if you are involved in one, consult an experienced personal injury attorney in the state of Texas before taking any action on your own. Contact Greening Law, P.C. in Dallas for a free consultation. We are here to help you get proper compensation for your injuries and protect your rights.