Yes, you are obligated to let your insurance know that the vehicle was in an accident. That will help start the process. Once you have, your insurance company will help get your PIP insurance started and they will help gather information so that if the other party’s insurance contacts them and they start saying the accident happened a little differently, they will already have your side of the story.
Is It A Good Idea To Notify The Other Party’s Insurance In An Auto Wreck?
No, you are not obligated to call the other party’s insurance company. In fact, I would suggest that you do not talk to the other insurance company at all. Again, they gather information, and simple little things you say, such as, “I was looking over at so and so in the backseat during the accident,” will be blown up, and they will somehow try and make it so that you were at fault. So it’s best not to let them twist your words. The owner of that car is obligated to report to them. Once you have an attorney retained to help you with the case, then the law firm makes contact with the other party’s insurance and starts the claim that way. Always get driver’s exchange information. Sometimes people give fake names. If you can take a picture of the other vehicle’s license plate.
How Should Someone Deal With The Other Party’s Insurance In An Auto Accident Claim?
Do not give the other insurance company any information at all. There is the driver exchange that is legally necessary; after that, allow the law firm to handle all correspondence and all conversation. We’ll put them on notice, they’ll get a copy of the accident report, and all conversations will go through the law office. This way, the person that’s hurt, you, won’t have to worry about anything.
If Someone Delays Medical Treatment, Do They Still Have An Auto Accident Claim?
Yes. You always have a case up until the four-year statute of limitations. But the delay sometimes is real. It could be 24 hours or 48 hours in terms of the delayed onset of your pain. Similar to working out in the gym: if you overdo it, you feel it maybe not the next day but perhaps the second day when your muscles are all of a sudden tight. During the accident, you may grab the steering wheel, your head whips back and hits the headrest and flies forward or vice versa. It’s amazing what the body tries to fix on its own, and it sends endorphins and adrenaline to take care of that. But the reality is one of these days, you wake up stiff and wonder why you’re so stiff. It’s probably from the accident.
Stiffness doesn’t mean that you have a great case or that you need to run out and get an attorney, but it does mean that perhaps you should get looked at by a medical provider. Go to your doctor or a chiropractor and say, “I am feeling this,” and whether or not it’s going to go away on its own, we can determine that down the road. But initially, you just want to get looked at because you do have a 14-day window that closes very quickly.
Is It A Good Idea To See A Doctor, After An Accident, Even If You Are Not Hurt?
A few years ago before the state changed the PIP laws, people would wait. I had an instance where someone did not go to a doctor for four months. He thought it was his bed, he thought he was old, he was just getting stiff, or maybe he did something, and finally, his wife said, “Hey, you were in a car accident. Why don’t you just admit it? That’s why you are sore.” That happens. The problem is had that situation been in 2016 and not whenever it was, at four months, he can no longer go to the doctor and have his auto insurance pay for it. His medical expenses would have decreased his in pocket settlement by $10,000.00. This would have been real money he lost when we settled his case.
It is a good idea if you feel a little woozy, have a headache, or wake up stiff, to run over to one of the urgent care centers or to your regular doctor to get in and just get checked out. At least get it documented that there was a car accident, and then whether you need any kind of medical treatment, at least you have jump-started your PIP insurance. That doesn’t mean you need a lawyer or you are going to file a lawsuit against the other side; it just means that you’ve done the smart thing by documenting what happened medically and can move on from there.
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