No one is ever prepared for a car accident — so if one happens, it can be difficult and overwhelming to figure out what comes next. There are a few important steps to be taken after a car accident, like seeking urgent care services for injuries and filing a police report, but many people also decide to file an auto insurance claim.
However, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you should take it up with your insurance company. So when exactly should an insurance claim be filed?
Did the accident involve another vehicle?
Not all accidents occur between two or more vehicles. Some accidents can consist of someone backing into a pole or hitting a mailbox, only damaging their own vehicle. Most of the time, if the damage is minor, this doesn’t require contacting the insurance company.
The driver can simply get the repairs done as needed. A claim for an accident that didn’t involve another vehicle would immediately be considered an at-fault collision, which could increase insurance rates. So if no other cars were involved and the damage is minimal, drivers may want to skip an insurance claim.
Is there significant property damage?
Sometimes, an accident between two vehicles results in very minimal damage, like a few scrapes, and the drivers may decide to simply settle the bill between themselves and not involve insurance companies. But other times, accidents result in serious property damage. If an accident causes significant damage, insurance companies should be notified.
Any amount of damage that exceeds a driver’s reasonable ability to pay for the damage should go through insurance. Drivers will want to get a repair estimate from a mechanic and talk to their insurance company about how much their collision coverage will pay for.
Were serious injuries sustained?
Along with property damage, vehicle accidents may result in injuries. And if anyone was injured, whether they’re a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, an insurance claim should always be filed. If someone fails to file an insurance claim, this could leave them susceptible to a nasty lawsuit if they’re found to be at-fault for the accident.
And because property damage and medical bills can add up very quickly, drivers should have their insurance to back them up with covering costs if need be. Drivers should always make an insurance claim if someone is hurt, because insurance companies could end up denying the claim if the driver has already been sued.
Is fault unclear?
Car accidents are not always cut and dried; while some accidents are clearly one party’s fault, others may be more complex regarding who is at fault. If an accident occurs and it’s not completely clear who is at fault, an insurance claim should be filed.
If there are damages and injuries on each side, the parties’ insurance companies will need to work together to determine who pays for what. If someone fails to file a claim and has to deal with the other party’s insurance company on their own, they may end up paying a lot more money for things they shouldn’t be paying for in the first place.
Does an attorney need to be hired?
It’s no secret that handling the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging. This is why so many drivers decide to hire an accident attorney to help with their case.
Whether it’s simply dealing with insurance companies, filing a personal injury claim, or just getting advice on what to do next, working with an experienced lawyer can always help drivers get their claim settled and navigate the legal process as needed.
While an insurance claim does not always need to be filed, drivers should use their best judgement and file a claim when needed to avoid legal issues and higher payouts.