Should I Notify My Insurance Company of the Auto Accident?
In Arizona, every driver lawfully must have car insurance. Car insurance is what guarantees a driver’s financial responsibility. It enables drivers to pay for the damages they cause in auto accidents. After you get into an accident, one of your duties as a driver may be to call your insurance provider and report the wreck. Knowing when to do so could help you preserve your right to file a claim to damages.
When Do You Have to Report an Accident to an Insurance Company?
Not all auto accidents are reportable. If you get into a crash involving only your vehicle, it might not be worth reporting unless you have collision or comprehensive insurance. If you caused a single-vehicle collision, such as by backing into a mailbox, liability insurance will not cover your damages. Only optional types of car insurance in Arizona will cover damages you cause yourself. If you do not have the right type of insurance coverage, you might not need to report your accident at all.
If, however, your car accident involves another vehicle, you will need to report it to an insurance company. Do not attempt to make an arrangement between yourself and the other driver. This could put you at risk of the other driver giving you false information or failing to pay what you need to repair your damages. Call the insurance company of the at-fault driver and report the crash instead. You will also need to call 911 while still at the scene of the car accident to report it if you see any injuries, fatalities or serious property damage.
Arizona is a fault-based state, meaning the insurance company you will report the car accident to will be that of the at-fault party. If you caused the car accident, it will be your insurer. If the other driver caused the crash, call his or her insurance provider instead. If neither one of you are admitting fault, contact your insurer so the company can represent you during a liability dispute. Contact a Phoenix, AZ Car Accident Attorney first if you need assistance with the insurance claims process.
How Soon Should You Report the Accident in Arizona?
If your accident requires reporting, call the correct insurance provider as soon as possible. Most insurance companies make it mandatory to report auto collisions as soon as practicable based on the terms of the policy. Report your wreck right away, within 24 hours of the accident. Some companies extend the window up to 72 hours. Waiting too long to report your crash to an insurance company could mean losing your right to obtain any insurance benefits. The provider would have just cause to deny your claim due to a missed reporting deadline. You will have two years from the date of the wreck to file a personal injury cause of action with the civil courts in Arizona, however.
How Do You Handle the Insurance Claims Process?
You might need a injury lawyer’s assistance when going about the insurance claim process in Arizona. Insurance companies will do their best to save money by getting you to settle your claim for as little compensation as possible. From your very first conversation with an insurance agent or claims adjuster, be wary of what you say. Give yes or no answers as much as possible rather than long, narrative descriptions. Do not give more information than is necessary. Never admit fault to a claims adjuster and do not give a recorded statement.
Do not say yes to the first settlement offer the insurance company gives you. The first offer is typically the lowest because the insurer expects you to negotiate for a higher amount. Have an experienced injury lawyer handle negotiations for you, if necessary. You should understand the true value of your car accident case and damages before entering into negotiations. If the insurance company is not offering what you believe your injuries are worth, take your car accident case to trial with help from a Phoenix personal injury lawyer.