Donovan & Morello, LLP
What to Do If You're in an Auto Accident to Protect Your Rights Under Your Insurance Policy
Obtain a Copy of the Police Accident Report
These may be obtained in person or on line from your local or state police department that investigated the collision. Review the report. Oftentimes the report contains erroneous information. If it does, send a written notification to the investigating agency setting for the correct information and request that the amend the record. If they refuse, at least you have a written record of your request that you can provide to your insurance company.
Contact Your Insurance Company Immediately
Even if you are not at fault for the collision, you have a duty to report the incident to YOUR insurance carrier. They will open a file for the incident. If you have collision coverage or med pay coverage, they will instruct you on how to proceed to file a claim for your auto property damage and how to get your medical bills paid through your policy. Cooperate with them. They will take a recorded statement from you setting forth your version of the collision as well as the identities of the other parties and witnesses involved. This is for your own protection in the event that the other party files a claim or lawsuit against you. If you don’t notify your own insurance carrier, they may later refuse to provide you with an attorney to defend any claims or refuse to pay any judgments that may be rendered against you.
Take Photos of the Collision Site and the Physical Damage to Your Body or Vehicle
With the proliferation of cell phone cameras, it is very easy to take photos of the scene, either at the time of the collision or thereafter. If you have visible injuries or your vehicle has been damaged, you should also take photos of these damages in order to document the same.
If You Are Unsure What to Do or What Your Rights Are, Contact an Attorney
If you are injured and the collision is not your fault, then you have a claim for damages for the bodily injuries and property damage you sustained in the collision. While you may think you can handle this aspect of the case on your own, DON’T. You are just bait for the claims adjusters who have had years of training and experience in these matters and will do all they can to minimize your settlement and payout since they work FOR the insurance company, NOT for you. Just remember, claims adjusters, despite telling you they will help you out, are paid by and are working for the insurance company, NOT you. Claims adjusters are NOT your friend and by attempting to handle the matter on your own, you may take a good case and turn it into a bad one. Contact an attorney who is well versed in bodily injury law.