Dealing With Insurance Companies After an Automobile Accident

Even though you might feel certain that you did not cause an accident, it is advisable to contact your automobile insurer as soon as possible after one occurs.  Your insurance policy likely contains a clause requiring you to notify the insurer of any car accidents within a set amount of time. Try to collect as much information as possible about the accident, including contact information for witnesses. Also, document everything — car repairs, medical expenses and any other out-of-pocket costs related to the accident.  Your insurer will appreciate your being prepared.

If your motor vehicle was damaged because of the accident, then document the damage before sending it in for repairs. In addition, the insurance company might require you to obtain their written authorization before proceeding with medical treatments and repairs to your vehicle.  Bear in mind that the insurer cannot force you to bring your car to a specific auto repair facility. The insurer might recommend facilities, but the choice rests with you.

As noted in a previous post, Florida requires car owners to purchase personal injury protection (PIP).  Such insurance provides some coverage for bodily injury and lost wages.  You make a claim for such coverage with your own insurance carrier regardless of who was at fault for the accident, which is why it is often called no fault insurance.

If the insurance claims adjuster gives you an argument about paying for certain medical treatments or car repairs, seek the advice of a qualified attorney.

Take care speaking to the other driver’s insurance company

When speaking to another driver’s insurer, inform them only of the basic facts.  For example, state that you were involved in a crash with one of their policyholders, disclose your injuries and any property damage you might have incurred.  Do not make a statement as to who you think is at fault—do not draw conclusions. It is the job of law enforcement to determine who was at fault, not you.

Be prepared for the other driver’s insurer to tell you to pursue payment from your own insurer because they could not find any fault on their policyholder’s part.  This could happen even if the other driver admitted fault at the scene of the accident or if the police report finds that the other driver was at fault.  If you decide to fight the other driver’s insurer, it would be advisable to retain a car accident attorney to represent your best interests.

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