If you were injured in a collision caused by another driver, you would likely need to file an insurance claim or lawsuit to be compensated for damages. After a crash, you may be wondering, how long do I have to report a car accident to insurance in Virginia? The short answer is: It depends on your insurance carrier and the small print in your policy. To protect your best interests, it is a good idea to report the accident to your insurer as soon as you can.
You need only to provide basic details about the incident (your name and contact details, when and where the accident occurred, and the other driver’s contact details), which is a fairly simple process. During the early stages, you may not know the exact details of what happened or the full extent of your injuries. You are not legally obligated to provide further information, even if pressed. Sticking to simple facts is the best way to proceed here.
I Was Not at Fault for the Car Accident. Do I Still Need to Inform My Insurer?
Yes. You may have several coverages on your policy that you want to use, even if you are not at fault. For example, it may be necessary to have your vehicle repaired or replaced using the collision coverage on your policy if the other driver’s insurer is slow to act on the claim.
Collision coverage is optional in Virginia. If you do not have it and feel the at-fault driver’s insurer is giving you the runaround by stalling or even unfairly denying a valid claim, do not worry. You still have options.
How Do I Handle the Initial Call With an Insurer After a Car Accident?
Once you know how long you have to report the auto accident to your insurer, how do you avoid saying anything that could harm your case? Here are some helpful tips:
- Identify the person you talk to at the insurance company by asking for their name and contact details.
- Remain calm and be polite, providing only limited information as suggested above.
- Politely refuse to discuss the accident in any further detail if requested. (For example, you can say “my legal representation will be in touch to discuss the facts of my case.”)
- Take notes about what was said during your conversation, what information you provided, and what requests were made by the insurance carrier.
- Avoid the temptation to accept a prompt settlement offer. Without all the facts, it is almost impossible for an insurer to make an accurate financial assessment of your injuries so quickly.
- Refuse to give recorded statements. Instead, offer to provide a written statement when you have gathered all relevant information.
- Connect with a lawyer for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney to Manage the Legal Process for You
If you feel like you have “hit a wall” or you are frustrated or anxious about how your claim is progressing, an attorney can help protect your rights. There are many scenarios where you could benefit by enlisting the support of a lawyer to manage your case, such as:
- You feel an insurer is stalling and dragging the process out unnecessarily
- You are too unwell to handle the situation due to your injuries
- An insurer has unreasonably denied your legitimate claim
- Your damages exceed the maximum limit available on an insurance policy
- An insurer made an initial offer that is too low
- You are unsure about the value of your claim
Auto accident attorneys know the “tricks of the trade” that many insurance providers use to protect their profit margins. They can handle most of the paperwork and communications for you as well, so you can focus fully on your recovery.
To break down exactly how we help our injured clients, here is an overview of what our law firm can do:
- Gather evidence to support your case (such as police and medical reports, photographs of the scene, CCTV footage, witness interviews, and expert medical testimony that links your injuries to the accident)
- Identify the liable parties
- Prove the other driver’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries
- Assess the full extent of your physical, emotional, and financial losses
- Manage all communications for your case
- Negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf
- Take your case to court if the matter cannot be fairly resolved
Talk to Our Team Today and Learn About Your Legal Options
At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, our client’s needs come first. We are committed to providing comprehensive services, so you feel heard and supported throughout the legal process. As such, we will do whatever we can to get you the compensation you deserve.
Whether you need help filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit against a negligent driver after they hurt you, we are here for you. We believe our client testimonials do an excellent job of showing how we deliver results for injured people. To learn more about how we can help you, call (571) 229-1800 today for a free consultation.