Every person involved in a car accident or any other kind of collision on the road should immediately reach out to their own insurance company. This informs the company about the accident and will lead them to investigate the matter. In addition, this will trigger the personal injury protection (PIP) provisions in your plan that can provide for the payment of initial medical costs.
Even with these vital concepts in mind, it is best to deal with your own insurance company using appropriate caution. These companies may try to obtain an official statement from you concerning the facts leading up to the collision. If your statement includes any inconsistencies or appears to acknowledge your responsibility for the crash, this could jeopardize your ability to receive compensation from other sources.
In sum, you will need to reach out to your insurance company immediately after an auto accident. However, always be cognizant of what you are saying to them, and it may be best to obtain the help of an attorney before signing any official documentation.
Opening a Claim with Your Insurance Company
According to Title 11 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York § 65-1.1, every car insurance policy in New York must contain a PIP provision. This provision states that, regardless of who is at fault for a car accident, the policyholder will receive payment for the costs of their medical treatment. Usually, this amounts to a few thousand dollars of payments. The only way to trigger the release of these funds is to report the accident to your insurance company. If you do not do this, you may be responsible for the costs of an ambulance ride or ER care, at least initially. Quickly notifying your insurance company after an auto accident helps to cover these initial bills.
Another reason to quickly reach out is the state’s statute of limitations concerning car accidents. In short, New York Civil Practice Law & Rules § 214 gives you three years after a crash to demand compensation for your losses. Getting started with the often-lengthy process of pursuing payments as quickly as possible lessens the chance that this strict law may affect your case.
Take Caution When Proving Official Statements
It is important to remember that your insurance company is on your side. The other driver and their insurance company will likely be trying to shift blame onto you for the collision, which means that your insurance company would have to pay. Understandably, they are trying to avoid this and will want to protect your interests.
However, this does not mean that you cannot be careful when talking with your insurance company. Always be aware that all phone conversations will be recorded. This means that they could become evidence during an eventual dispute. If you admit fault when talking with your insurance company, the other party may discover this conversation and use it as justification to deny a claim.
Similar ideas apply to potentially inconsistent statements. For instance, if you provide a written statement to your insurance company that differs from the one that you provide to the other driver’s company, this could lead to a difficult path towards compensation. Obtaining the help of a lawyer when talking to your insurance company could help you avoid these complications.
Talk With Your Insurance Company After an Accident to Start a Claim
You will need to talk with your insurance company after a car accident to receive PIP benefits and initiate the claims process. It is best to do this as soon as possible after a crash. However, be aware that information that you provide will become a matter of record and may jeopardize your claim against the other driver. If you have any concerns about the case, it is best to reach out to an attorney for assistance.