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Should I Wait To Report A Car Accident To My Insurance Company?

Posted June 26, 2024 | Personal Injury Blog

Should I Wait To Report A Car Accident To My Insurance Company?

Experiencing a car accident can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. You might feel unsure about your next steps, especially when it comes to reporting the incident to your insurance company. This decision can significantly impact your claim and the compensation you may receive. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the timelines for reporting a car accident in Texas and Utah , the importance of consulting a personal injury lawyer before contacting your insurer, and the tactics insurance adjusters may use to minimize your claim. We’ll also discuss the statute of limitations in both states and how our law firm can provide the support and guidance you need during this challenging time.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Utah and Texas?

In the aftermath of a car accident, timely reporting to your insurance company is essential. Both Utah and Texas require prompt notification, though the specific timeframe can vary depending on your insurance policy.

Utah operates under a no-fault insurance system, meaning that your own insurance policy will cover your medical expenses and other damages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This system places a strong emphasis on timely reporting to ensure you receive the benefits you need without unnecessary delays. Typically, you should report the accident to your insurer within a few days.

Texas follows a fault-based system, which means that the at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for covering the damages. Prompt reporting is crucial in Texas to establish a clear and accurate record of the incident. Most insurance policies require that you report the accident within a specified timeframe – often within a few days to a week.

Failure to report the accident within the time allowed can result in the denial of your claim, leaving you to cover all expenses out of pocket.

Why You Should Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Reporting an Accident to the Insurance Company

Reaching out to a personal injury lawyer before you contact your insurance company can be incredibly beneficial. 

Personal injury lawyers are skilled in accurately assessing the value of your claim. They consider not only your immediate medical expenses and property damage but also long-term impacts like lost wages and pain and suffering. Therefore, your lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities following an accident, ensuring that you do not unintentionally waive any entitlements.

Additionally, the insurance company may use your statements against you to minimize their payout. A lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance company, ensuring that nothing you say can be misconstrued or used to reduce your claim.

Lawyers are experienced negotiators who can advocate for the maximum compensation you deserve. They understand the tactics insurers use and can counteract them effectively.

Tactics Insurance Adjusters Use to Minimize Your Claim

Insurance adjusters are trained to protect their company’s financial interests, which means minimizing the amount paid out on claims. 

Strategies that insurers employ include:

  • Quick settlement offers: Adjusters may offer a quick, lowball settlement in the hopes that you will accept it before fully understanding the extent of your injuries or damages. This initial offer is often much lower than what you deserve.
  • Disputing liability: The adjusters might argue that you were partially or entirely responsible for the accident, which can reduce or even eliminate your compensation. Gathering and presenting evidence is crucial to counter these claims.
  • Downplaying injuries: Adjusters may claim that your injuries are not as severe as reported, challenging your medical records or requiring additional, often unnecessary, medical examinations. That’s why it’s important to have thorough documentation from your healthcare providers.
  • Delaying tactics: By dragging out the claims process, adjusters hope you will become desperate and settle for less than what you are entitled to receive. Persistent follow-up and legal pressure can help expedite the process.

Even though these tactics seem intimidating, you should not wait too long to start the claims process. After all, promptly reporting an incident helps to preserve crucial evidence such as witness statements, accident scene details, and physical evidence. 

Early reporting also ensures that your injuries are documented promptly, creating a strong link between the accident and your medical conditions. Such evidence is vital for substantiating your claim and establishing fault.

Additionally, timely claims can expedite financial relief for medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other accident-related expenses, helping you recover without undue financial stress.

What Is the Statute of Limitations in Utah and Texas?

If you are dissatisfied with the offer you receive from the insurance company after reporting your accident, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations sets the maximum time after an accident within which legal proceedings may be initiated. For personal injury cases, adhering to this timeline is crucial. 

In Utah, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is 4 years from the date of the accident. For wrongful death claims, it is 2 years from the date of death.

In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 2 years from the date of the accident. The same 2-year period applies to wrongful death claims.

Missing these deadlines can bar you from pursuing legal action, underscoring the importance of timely reporting and consultation with a lawyer.

How Our Law Firm Can Help You

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be daunting, but you don’t have to face the challenges alone. At Fielding Law, our team is dedicated to helping personal injury victims secure the compensation they need. That is why we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case, answer your questions, and outline your options. This is a no-obligation meeting to inform you of your rights and examine the best steps forward.

When you hire us, we can handle negotiations with the insurance company, ensuring your rights are protected and striving for the maximum settlement. Our goal is to secure the settlement you deserve without the stress of dealing with insurers yourself. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to court, providing robust representation throughout the legal process.

We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. This arrangement ensures that our interests are aligned with yours, and we are committed to achieving the best possible outcome.

Reporting a car accident to your insurance company is a critical step that should not be delayed. However, doing so with the guidance of a personal injury lawyer ensures that your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have been in a car accident, contact us today for the support and representation you need. Fill out our online form to get started.

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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.