One of the unpleasant realities of being in an accident with another motorist is dealing with both your insurance company and the opposing insurer too. You’ll want to take proper measures to protect your legal rights. That will involve documentation and communication.
You’ll want the police to come to the scene of the crash. Don’t get talked out of that. The investigating officer will complete an accident report. Both insurance companies will want to see it. The report will detail:
- The resting positions of the vehicles if they haven’t been moved
- The damage to the vehicles
- Contact information for the parties and their insurers
- Statements of the parties as to how the accident occurred
- Passenger contact information and any statements from them
- Contact information for any witnesses and their statements
- Whether traffic tickets were issued and who they were issued to
When you speak with 911, the operator will ask you whether you need paramedics to come to the scene. If you or anybody else is hurt, insist on them coming. Their records will begin the chain of medical records that you’ll need to support any injury claim that you have.
Dealing with your own insurance company
Even if you have no present intention of making a claim with your insurance company, you’ll want to report the accident to it right away. Don’t worry about a rate increase. California law prohibits such an increase if the accident wasn’t your fault. If it becomes necessary to make a claim with your insurer for the accident, you’ve already given it timely notice. Failure to give timely notice can raise a policy defense, and your insurance company could walk away from you. Under your contract of insurance, you have a duty to cooperate with the company. Provide your insurance company with anything that it needs to process your claim.
Dealing with the opposing insurance company
Remember that insurance companies make money by taking in premiums and paying out as little as possible on claims. An adjuster from the opposing insurer will probably be in touch with you. He or she will call you “just to see how you’re feeling.” Then the adjuster will ask for a recorded statement in order to get your version of how the accident happened. Your version of events is already on the police report. Politely refuse to give a recorded statement. California law doesn’t require you to give an opposing insurer a recorded statement, and that insurer will only try to use your statement against you to attack your credibility in the future. The adjuster might also ask you to sign and return a medical authorization. You shouldn’t provide that either. You’d be authorizing the insurer to obtain every record of medical care and treatment in your life. The insurer is looking for a prior injury to the same part of your body that it can blame for your condition, even if that injury occurred 20 years ago. We strongly recommend that you refuse to provide either a recorded statement or a medical authorization to the opposing insurer. Visit us instead.
If the person who caused your injuries was uninsured or underinsured, and you carried the proper coverage, you can make your claim against your own insurance company pursuant to your uninsured motorist insurance. If you do that, your own insurer turns into your opponent. We recommend that you see us if the other motorist was uninsured or underinsured.
The same insurer
It’s not unusual for two vehicles in an accident to be covered by the same insurer. Although two different adjusters would be assigned to the accident, the possibility of collusion exists. If you’re in this situation, you’ll want to discuss it with us.
Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer today
You don’t know the rules of civil procedure or evidence, so it’s not recommended that you pursue a personal injury claim against any insurance company on your own. That insurer will have you right where it wants you, and it will have control over your case. We deal with insurance companies on a daily basis. We’re known to them and their defense attorneys, and they respect us. We can take control of your case for you. When you’ve been injured in an accident, call the police, contact your insurance company, and then contact us by phone or email for a free consultation and case evaluation. You need not bring a single penny with you. We don’t even get paid unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you.