Should I Talk to My Insurance Company after an Accident?

March 5, 2024 Car Accidents

When you are in a car accident for the first – and hopefully only – time, you may not know what steps you should take. If you wonder, should I talk to my insurance company after an accident, you’re not alone. Many drivers worry their insurance premiums will increase if they speak to their insurer about their accident. Concerns about a premium increase should not stop you from talking to your insurance company after an accident.

While you should communicate with them, that communication should be brief and include only a few pieces of information. If you get help from an attorney early in the process, they can handle all the communications for you. Your attorney will also negotiate with insurance companies to obtain the full amount of compensation you deserve.

If you convey any information that relates to your level of fault in the accident, you may hurt the value of your settlement.

You should avoid giving your insurance company any details that allow them to determine how much you were at fault. Texas is a “comparative fault” state which means any driver who is less than 51% at fault for an accident can collect damages (Tex. C.P.R.C. §33.001). However, the amount of damages is reduced by the percentage of fault the driver holds. If a driver is 10% at fault and the damages total $100,000, the driver will receive 10% less, so only $90,000. Texas law also requires all drivers to carry insurance. So, the other driver will have at least the minimum required insurance coverage.

Why You Should Talk to Your Insurance Company after Your Accident

There are several reasons why you should talk to your insurance company after an accident:

  1. Your insurer requires it. Under the terms of your auto insurance policy, your insurer may require you to contact them if you’ve been in an accident that caused injury or damage to your vehicle. Some policies include clauses stating that a failure to contact the insurer may result in termination of the policy or a premium increase.
  2. Your coverage will provide a faster payout. Your insurance coverage will likely pay for your vehicle damages or medical costs faster than if you wait on the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay. When a matter of many days, and likely weeks, are at play, you don’t want to personally foot the bill for expensive car repairs or costly medical treatment. Once it is determined that the at-fault driver is responsible for your accident, your insurer will work with the other driver’s insurance company for payment to cover their costs related to your accident. It’s better to have the insurance companies work it out than for you to pay bills out of your own pocket and then take on an insurance company for reimbursement.
  3. Your insurance may provide better coverage than the other driver’s. You should check your policy language, but you will likely have coverage for:
    • Towing – Towing fees may be less than repairs, but are an added cost you shouldn’t have to pay.
    • Rental car reimbursement – which covers your need for a car while yours is in the shop
    • Collision – which pays for damage to your car
    • Liability – pays for damage to vehicles in the accident and for injuries, if you are found at-fault for the accident
    • Medical Payments – pays for your medical treatment, and for treatment of passengers who were injured. You may have coverage for collisions involving pedestrians, too.

You don’t have to handle any of this communication on your own. You can get help from a lawyer right away after your accident, and you’ll have legal guidance to protect you at every step in the process. Here are six reasons why getting legal help is the right choice.

Should I Contact My Insurance Company After an Accident?

Given the above information, in short, the answer is yes, you should contact your insurance company. However, be careful about what and how much you say. You should retain the help of an attorney to handle any communication beyond the very basic details about your accident. That way, you won’t unintentionally harm your opportunity to get full compensation for your injuries and damage to your car.

Obtaining legal representation is essential if your injuries are severe, like back or head injuries, because the medical costs may be very large and continue for a long time after your accident. One important reason to avoid conveying information that could hurt you later is that your insurance company wants to make the most profit possible. Insurers want to pay the lowest amount possible and will look for ways to reduce the amount of your settlement.

What to Tell Your Insurance Company after an Accident

If you were able to gather information related to those involved in and responding to your accident, you can provide the basic details to your insurance company. It’s also possible you may have been so severely injured that you weren’t able to collect any information at the scene. The law enforcement officers at the scene will have gathered information, so you may need to get details from your police report. To best protect the outcome of any settlement negotiations, you should offer only the following information:

  • Date and time of the accident, and the location
  • Contact information of anyone involved in the accident, particularly other drivers
  • Name of the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident (local police, state police, county sheriff), and names of the officers, if possible
  • Insurance information for all drivers involved.

Beyond that, if you convey any information related to your injuries, you could hurt your case. Be sure you don’t discuss your case with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or agree to a recorded statement with them – since they are likely to try to trick you or use the recording against you in every way possible.

Your best option is to work with a car accident attorney to handle any communications related to your injuries or other details about what happened.

Information You Need for a Car Accident Case

While you should be very limited in what you say to your insurance company, it’s a different matter when it comes to collecting the details you need for a car accident case. When you work with an attorney, this process can be handled for you, and you’ll have the legal expertise of the attorney as an added advantage. For your own documentation, you should collect as much information about the accident as possible. Here is what you should gather, in addition to what is listed above:

  • The police report for your accident
  • Pictures of any damage or injuries
  • A narrative of what happened – in detail. You might also draw a sketch to illustrate what cars were involved and how they moved.
  • All records of damages, whether they are car repair invoices, towing receipts, or medical bills
  • Medical records will be essential to showing the extent of your injuries.

While the short answer to the question, “should I talk to my insurance company after an accident” is “yes,” you should share only the minimum information needed.

Why You Should Work with an Attorney

Your best move is to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

By discussing the details of your crash with your attorney before you talk to your insurance company, you will have the benefit of legal guidance right from the start. With this approach, you will protect yourself from any mistakes you might make that could harm the amount of your settlement.

Work with our team at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law and you’ll have highly experienced lawyers on your side. We have a no-fee guarantee, so you will pay us only if we win your case. Our record speaks for itself: we’ve won over $1 billion for our clients. Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 and you can rest assured we’ll fight aggressively for the maximum compensation possible for your damages.

Attorney Terry Bryant

Attorney Terry BryantTerry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]

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