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How Soon After an Accident Should You Notify Your Insurer?

Published on May 21, 2024 by Thomas Law Offices.

How Soon After an Accident Should You Notify Your Insurer?

After an accident, your top priority is to get medical help. When that’s done, what’s the next step? If you are ready to start the claims process, you must notify your insurer.

But how soon after an accident should you notify your insurer?

You don’t want to wait to initiate a claim in most situations. Any delays could be detrimental to receiving compensation for your damages.

Let’s examine the timeline for making these claims and why working with the insurance company could be necessary.

When To Notify Your Insurance Company

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,102,936 police-reported traffic crashes occurred in 2021. If you were involved in one of these accidents, you need to report it.

When it comes to reporting an incident to your insurance company, there usually isn’t a set rule for everyone. Make sure to read the fine print to ensure you meet any potential deadlines. Some policies have short reporting windows, while others give their holders a more flexible deadline.

So, if your insurer doesn’t have a set requirement, when should you report an accident?

In most cases, it is best to contact them within 72 hours of the occurrence. If you wait any later, you could forget important details of the accident, or evidence could be lost.

However, if you are involved in a certain type of accident, you may need to report the incident to your insurer right away. For example, if you are involved in a car accident that results in injuries, you need to notify your insurance company.

Regardless of who the at-fault driver was, reporting injuries can help with the claims process. You want to make sure that your medical expenses and other related claims are addressed promptly.

How To File a Claim

You’ll want to provide accurate information to the adjuster. After all, this individual plays an instrumental role in whether your claim will be approved or denied.

You should give the accident’s time, location, and potential cause. While you may want to assign fault, try to stick to the facts. Also, make sure to provide the adjuster with other pertinent information, such as eyewitness contact details.

When it comes to your injuries, you don’t want to brush them off as minor. Sometimes, car accident injuries can intensify over time. If you told your claims adjuster you had minor bruises, but it turned out to be a broken rib, it could affect your claim.

If you’re ever asked about your injuries, explain that a healthcare provider has checked you and be willing to provide medical records if needed.

To assess the extent of the damage, they may need to request additional documentation, photos, or statements. You always want to be responsive and transparent when communicating with them. By providing the necessary information promptly and accurately, you can help ensure that your claim is resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.

What Happens If You Don’t Report an Accident

Failing to report to your insurance often results in serious consequences. Under the terms of your car insurance policy, you are required to report any accident. The insurer needs to investigate the accident and assess the damage to determine the amount of compensation you or anyone involved in the accident will recover.

If you fail to report the accident, your insurer may deny any claim made under the policy. In these cases, you could have to pay for any damages or injuries out of your own pocket.

Additionally, failing to report an accident, the insurance could cancel your policy. In these situations, you could be left without insurance coverage, which is illegal in the Bluegrass State per the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. If you drive without insurance in the Commonwealth, you may be required to pay a fine of up to $1,000 and spend up to 90 days in jail.

Should You Talk to a Lawyer or Report the Accident to an Insurer First?

While you may want to immediately contact the insurance company, don’t overlook getting advice from a qualified Louisville car accident attorney.

Many times, the insurance company will settle for the lowest amount possible. This may not be in your best interest, especially if you have been hurt due to another driver’s negligence.

A personal injury attorney can advise you on the best course of action and help you navigate the insurance claims process. While you should eventually contact your insurance company, after seeking medical attention and collecting necessary information, you should first call an experienced lawyer specializing in car accident cases.

If you need advice on how to proceed or want to discuss the validity of a potential legal claim, Thomas Law Offices always offers a free initial consultation for your case.


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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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