When you get into a car accident, one of the first steps is dealing with your automobile insurance company. Whether or not the accident was your fault, you will still have to report the accident so that your insurance company can speak with the other driver’s insurance company. Car accidents are scary. Between injuries and a damaged car, the whole ordeal can be very overwhelming. Keep in mind, though, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to handle car accident claims in an organized and stress-free manner. Even if you’ve never been in a car accident, it’s essential to understand how to deal with your insurance company post-accident. Here we’ve put together some dos and don’ts regarding how to deal with insurance companies.
Do Report a Car Accident Right Away
You must report the accident to your insurance company right away. Failure to report a crash as soon as possible can result in difficulties getting personal injury damages paid for. Report the accident to your insurance company within 24 hours. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, if you are seriously injured and end up in the hospital. Also, it is a law in Georgia that car accidents where there is a death, injury, or damages of more than $500 must be reported to the police. No matter how minor the accident may seem, the best policy is to report it to your insurance company and the police right away.
Do Get the Insurance Card of the Other Driver Involved in the Car Accident
At the accident scene, make sure you trade insurance cards with the other driver/drivers involved. Write down the name of the driver and their insurance company, the driver’s address and phone number, their policy number, driver’s license number, and license plate number. This information should be shared with your car insurance company when you call to report the accident. But what if, for whatever reason, the other driver involved refuses to share their insurance information with you? In that case, the police will obtain the information for you when they arrive at the accident scene.
Do Discuss Increases in Premiums
Did you know that your insurance premiums can go up after an accident even when it’s not your fault? The decision to increase premiums is based on multiple factors. These factors include things like how many claims you have filed in the past or your accident history. After the accident, discuss with your insurance company any updates to your premium. If they hike up your prices too much, it may be time to think about switching insurance providers.
Don’t Sign a Medical Release Form
If you were hurt in an accident, you will have to deal with the other driver’s insurance company. They might ask you to sign a medical release form that gives them access to your medical records. The problem is that the release gives them access to all medical records, not just ones related to the accident. By seeing your medical records, they can use things like pre-existing conditions against you. They may also try to claim that your injuries weren’t caused by the accident but due to another medical condition you’ve had in the past.
Don’t Forget to Pay Your Car Insurance
This one is critical! Do not forget to pay for your car insurance. Drivers typically pay their automobile insurance twice a year. Failing to pay is grounds for policy cancellation. In some cases, drivers forget to pay their insurance, and their policy ends up being canceled without them even knowing. While this situation is rare, don’t let it happen to you. In Georgia, it is against the law to drive without insurance and is considered a misdemeanor. If you get into an accident and realize your policy was no longer valid, you can face up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Don’t Deal with Your Insurance Company Alone
Finally, if you were in an accident, do not try to deal with your insurance company by yourself. The accident, injuries, and damages to your car can be overwhelming. By working with an attorney like those at Reynolds, Horne & Survant, you have someone to represent you in your case. The attorney will deal with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company to make sure you get paid the damages you deserve. At Reynolds, Horne & Survant, we have years of experience helping clients with personal injury lawsuits due to car accidents. We work closely with our clients to help them every step of the way. Rest assured that an attorney will take some of the burdens off your shoulders when working with the insurance companies.
Getting into a car accident is stressful. Whether it is your fault or not, the injuries and damage are painful and, in some cases, can be long-lasting. The last thing most drivers want to do is spend hours dealing with the insurance company. Unfortunately, communicating with your insurance company is a must after an accident. The first step is to call your insurance company as soon as possible (at least within 24 hours) after the accident. Also, collect the insurance information from the other driver/drivers involved. Afterward, it’s time to find a lawyer to help you through the claims process and the potential personal injury lawsuit.
Reynold, Horne & Survant will schedule a free consultation to learn more about the accident and your potential case. For more information about what to do after an accident, how to deal with your insurance company, and filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact us today! We look forward to helping you!