What Are the Risks of Not Reporting an Accident to Your Insurance Company?

What Are the Risks of Not Reporting an Accident to Your Insurance Company?

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.

Injury Claims

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.

Should I Hire an Attorney or Rely on my Insurance Company to Handle My Case?

Should I Hire an Attorney or Rely on my Insurance Company to Handle My Case?

Insurance is a multi-billion dollar per year business, and a sizable portion of that money is spent convincing you that the insurance company works for your benefit. Catchy slogans and memorable representatives combine with teams of adjusters, agents and claims personnel to portray the notion that they are just waiting to leap to the rescue of customers, if and when they are needed. This is not necessarily the case, especially when you are dealing with someone else’s insurance company after having sustained an injury in some type of accident at work, on someone else’s property or while driving or walking down the street.

Low Settlement Offers

In personal injury cases, it is common practice for insurance companies to offer a low settlement at the beginning of the process. Victims are often vulnerable immediately following the accident and need money quickly. If an insurance company can settle a claim with a low first offer, they get rid of your problem quickly and save money for their shareholders. If you accept the insurance company’s initial offer and cash the check, you may receive inadequate compensation and limit your recourse for unforeseen losses in the future.  

Equitable Claim Settlements

The results of a study conducted in 1999 by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) suggest that hiring an attorney pays significant dividends for accident victims pursuing an auto insurance claim. According to the Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims, “Paying for Auto Injuries,” settlements for injury victims were 40 percent higher with attorney representation than without it. Consider the rising costs between 1999 and today, consumers could reap an even bigger settlement. Securing an attorney in a personal injury settlement can make a huge difference, regardless of whether the cause of the injuries are from an auto accident or some other type of injury.

Experience with Insurance and Personal Injury Laws

Depending on the circumstances of your incident, the particulars of the law can become complicated.

  • What if the person who rear-ended you doesn’t have insurance? Or what if their insurance refuses to pay?
  • What if the dog bite you received makes you seriously ill and ends up costing you thousands? What if the neighbor won’t take responsibility?

One can see how easily a personal injury claim can become complicated. Any time you are injured and are dealing with an insurance company or another private party directly for your claim, you have the right to consult an attorney. Consider seeking legal representation, you never know when the situation may become more complicated than you expected.

Equality of Treatment

Consider seeking a personal injury lawyer immediately if you feel intimidated by the representatives of the insurance company or another party. Your attorney will be able to handle communications with the other parties involved and help you understand your rights and the claims process. A personal injury attorney will be quite familiar with the process and can provide assistance in handling your claim in a timely manner, to make sure your claim is settled quickly, but fairly. While some may argue that hiring an attorney is adversarial, it really isn’t true. Hiring a personal injury lawyer simply levels the playing field for you and ensures that you will receive the compensation due you.

Expert Consultants

Insurance companies may demand medical examinations or professional estimates to determine the amount of injury or loss. While these may be conducted by reputable professionals, you also have the right to independent evaluations. A personal injury lawyer can employ a network of medical, vocational and other experts. These experts can assist in determining the full value of a victim’s loss after an accident in order to determine equitable and adequate loss or injury evaluations.

Is an Attorney Necessary in All Personal Injury Cases?

Some minor injury cases could be resolved between accident victims and insurance companies, however, it is difficult to know when a personal injury case may involve tricky legal or liability issues; it’s best to consult an attorney for any personal injury case. There is no cost for an initial consultation and the advice you receive may be invaluable.

Greening Law, P.C. provides experienced and aggressive personal injury representation for those injured in accidents or other acts of negligence. We fight the legal battle so you have time for healing and renewal.  Give them a call at (972)-934-8900 or fill out the online form to arrange a free initial consultation.