You were just involved in a car accident and your vehicle has finally come to a stop. Your heart is racing as you take in your surroundings and pull yourself together enough to drive to the shoulder. Now, what? If you or anyone else involved is in need of medical attention, call 911. If it’s not an emergency, contact the police right away. Once you talk to the officer who arrives on the scene, it settles in that you need to deal with insurance. The first step is to provide your insurer with notice of the accident. If you don’t, there could be ramifications for any claim you make regarding the accident, including a full denial.
Notice is more of a legal concept than you might realize. Notice is an official notification to a person or business. It lets them know that a particular action occurred or is going to occur. Once a person or business receives notice, the law views that person or entity as knowledgeable regarding the facts within that notification.
Notice is important because it may give rise to an obligation by that person or business. For example, notice of an accident to an insurer alerts that company to the possibility of a first- or third-party claim.
There are two factors involved in knowing when to notify your auto insurance company about an accident. The first is knowing what type of accidents makes giving notice to your insurer necessary. The second is how long you have to provide notice after the accident occurs.
You should call your insurer if you are in an accident that caused:
If there’s damage to a vehicle or someone was hurt, there is a possibility that you will need to make a claim against your insurance policy or another person may make a third-party claim against your policy.
You should contact your insurance company as soon as you can. If you aren’t hurt, you may be able to call your insurer within hours of the incident. If you are hospitalized or if it takes some time to deal with getting yourself home, you can give notice within 48 hours. This is generally a reasonable time frame. However, you should read your insurance policy to see what it says about the time frame for giving notice.
The best way to give your insurance company notice is to call. Your insurer may have an online process. You should also read your insurance policy to see if there is a specific process you should follow.
When you call your insurer to tell them about an accident, the representative will ask for some basic information such as:
If you fail to notify your insurance company of an accident but then you later make a first-party claim under your policy, your claim could be denied. Failing to give notice may eliminate the insurer’s duty to cover the damage or injuries caused by the accident. You will need to pay for medical and vehicle repair bills yourself. If another person makes a third-party claim and your insurer never received notice, you could become personally liable for the other person’s damages.
Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. It is crucial you read your specific auto insurance policy and understand when notice is required of you. If you have any questions regarding your policy or providing notice after a collision, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away at (312) 236-2900 or contact us online.