Personal Injury Lawyers
Yes, you have to give a statement to your own insurance company- whether that’s formal or informal- after being involved in a car accident that results in a reported claim. There are several reasons to do so which are the focus of this article from our friend Attorney Eric T. Kirk who is an experienced car accident lawyer ready to provide some general advice:
- To secure a timely application for and provision of personal injury protection, or PIP benefits
- To ensure you are compliant with your insurance policy’s reporting and cooperation requirements
- To give your insurance company a chance to fully investigate and promptly adjust the loss
Personal injury protection, or PIP benefits, are what the law refers to as “first party” insurance. In other words, this is your insurance, and the coverage is contained within your policy. The specifics of PIP are explored in other chapters and are beyond the focus of this article. An important thing to remember for purposes of speaking to your own insurance company after the loss is that most policies, or laws in your jurisdiction, contain timeframes within which the personal injury protection claim must be opened. Talking to your own insurance company is a great way to ensure that that happens.
An insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. That contract is composed of exchanges of promises on the part of the insurance company and payment in the form of premiums on your part. So long as your premiums are paid timely after an automobile accident, that insurance company is obligated to provide you with two things: a defense in the case, and indemnification for any judgment. There are other conditions contained within your insurance policy, and if you do not strictly abide by those conditions, you may lose the twin protections of a defense and indemnification. Perhaps the most important of your obligations under your policy is to report and cooperate. Your insurance company is entitled to know about the happening of the accident immediately, and is entitled to collect information from you about the loss. This protects you, but is set forth below, also protects the insurance company in addition to being an important contractual obligation.
The prompt investigation and evaluation of claims is, of course, in the economic interest of both the participants in the accident and their respective insurance carriers. Information that might be obtainable in the aftermath of an accident might later not be available, might dissipate or disappear. Everyone has an interest in obtaining and preserving evidence and other information promptly. Your insurance company likely also has regulatory, administrative, or perhaps legal or ethical requirements and parameters within which it must act. They have a right to insist upon your cooperation. Without documented good cause, there’s simply no reason, and indeed, failure would be detrimental to both your finances and any potential claims you may have as a result of an automobile accident.
If you have recently been in an accident, contact an accident lawyer near you for help navigating the legal process with your insurance company.