How long you have to report a car accident to your insurance company depends on your insurer. Check your policy for details. Most insurers suggest you report your accident from the scene or right after you get home.
Do I always have to report an accident to my insurance company?
No, not always, but you should. If there are no injuries in the accident and less than $500 in damages, there is no legal requirement to report the accident to police or insurers. The law requires anyone in an accident causing injury, death, or more than $500 in damages to inform law enforcement of the incident.
It is important to note, in some cases, if an insurer finds out you did not report an accident, it might drop you or refuse to pay for an accident if the other driver decides to file a claim against you.
We, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, recommend you report your accident immediately.
Why should I report it so quickly?
Florida is a no-fault state for car insurance, so no matter who caused the accident, you will likely be turning to your own insurance company to compensate you for your injuries and losses, rather than dealing with the other driver’s insurer.
Drivers in Florida are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) in their insurance policies, which will cover some medical expenses and lost wages up to $10,000 after most accidents. However, to begin receiving compensation through your PIP coverage, you must notify your insurance company or you risk recovering nothing.
What information do I need to have to report my accident to my insurer?
There are a few things you need when you report your accident to your insurer. Have the following handy when you call or report your accident online:
- Where the accident happened (e.g., street names, intersection, turn lane, etc.)
- The type of accident (e.g., rear-end, head-on, etc.)
- A brief overview of what happened (it helps to write this down right after the accident so you do not forget anything)
- The other driver’s name, contact information, insurance information
- Any eyewitnesses’ contact information (if you were unable to get this information on the scene, it is likely on the police report)
Note: When discussing the accident with your insurer, only give the insurance adjuster the basics. Do not admit fault or speculate about what the other driver was doing.
What if I want to file a claim against the driver who caused the crash?
If you intend to file against the other driver, you need to report your accident immediately. Failing to report your accident immediately, or at all, will make it difficult or impossible to prove your injuries are related to the crash.
Note: Any person injured in a crash must file a lawsuit within four years of the date the incident occurred for the court to consider the case.
Do I need a car accident lawyer?
Car accidents are an unfortunate but often inevitable part of life in Florida, and they put unwelcome stress on everyone involved. In addition to damage to your vehicle, you likely have medical expenses to deal with, as well as lost wages due to injury.
And while most people assume their insurer will be looking out for their best interests, this is rarely the case. Your insurer, just like the other party’s insurer, will be looking out for its own best interests — namely its bottom line. In many cases, insurers will pull tricks on accident victims — even their own policyholders — to decrease the compensation they owe.
A car accident attorney can help you through each step of the process, from dealing with insurers on your behalf to securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries and lost wages. Especially if you plan on filing a claim against the driver who caused the accident, consulting with a Coffey Trial Law car accident lawyer might be one of the most important decisions you make after an accident.
Call us at 954-541-3194 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.