Most people will be involved in at least one car accident in the course of their lifetimes. In Connecticut, drivers are required to carry the following minimum insurance to cover the cost of a crash:
If you have been in a car accident, you face the unenviable task of dealing with insurance. You have a duty to notify your insurance carrier of the crash promptly (generally within 30 days, but check your policy to be sure).
Many drivers are understandably nervous when they call the insurance company, and for good reason. After all, what you say and do can have a significant impact on the compensation you can recover after a car accident.
Fortunately, you do not have to go it alone. The Flood Law Firm can help if you or a loved one suffered injury in a car accident caused by someone else.
Yes, you do. The obligation to notify the carrier of an accident exists regardless of who is at fault.
If you fail to inform your insurer of the accident promptly, you may be denied coverage. This can leave you personally liable for losses that would otherwise be covered by your insurance.
For many motorists, the aftermath of an accident is the first time they have had to call their insurance company. It pays to be prepared, so it is in your interest to review your insurance policy before the call and have any and all notes at the ready when you speak to a representative.
It is helpful to have the following information when you call to report a car accident to your insurance company:
Be sure to take diligent notes throughout the course of the call. Ask for the employee’s name, write down the date and time you call, and jot down any and all important information.
Many accident victims make the mistake of assuming that the insurance company will take care of everything after the accident. Sadly, this is not the case.
When you get your claim underway, you need to be proactive in advocating for yourself. Asking your insurance company the right questions can make a world of difference:
Ideally you had the opportunity to survey the scene of the accident and exchange information with the other driver after the crash. You should share any and all information you were able to gather with your insurer, including:
Stick to the facts when you share these details. Although you are talking to “your” insurance company, it is important not to say anything to suggest that you were at fault for the crash.
It is important to have a thorough understanding of your insurance coverage and what the policy will pay for in the event of an accident. Drivers who purchase the mandatory minimum insurance only have liability coverage. However, you may be able to get more if you purchased additional auto insurance. (Ex: Collision insurance helps pay for the cost of repairing your vehicle.)
Another important insurance consideration after any car accident is who will pay for your medical expenses. If you have purchased medical payments coverage (also called Med Pay) as part of your car insurance, your auto policy can cover some of the cost of medical care related to the accident.
You can also turn to your health insurance for coverage of medical bills. Generally, however, the principal option for getting your medical expenses paid after a car accident is to bring a claim against the at-fault driver.
Connecticut General Statute (C.G.S.) § 52-570d states that all parties must consent for phone calls to be legally recorded. However, the provisions of this law are satisfied if the recording party (a) provides a verbal notification at the start of the call or (b) sounds a tone every 15 seconds signaling that the call is being recorded.
Although insurance companies may say that calls are recorded for “quality assurance purposes,” the truth is that recordings can also be used to limit what the insurer has to pay. The biggest risk with recorded calls comes when dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, but you should exercise the utmost caution when speaking to your own insurer as well.
The “burden of proof” is the legal term for the threshold that has to be met for the determination of fault in a car accident claim. Simply saying that you were not at fault for the accident will not be enough for the insurance company; the insurer will conduct its own investigation to assess where the responsibility lies for the crash.
If the insurance company agrees that you are not at fault, there should be no impediment to the coverage of your losses. However, disputes can arise depending on what the other driver says or refuses to say. Therefore, it is important to know whether your insurance company is satisfied that the burden of proof has been met and your carrier believes that you are not at fault for the accident.
You may be entitled to compensation if the other driver was at fault for the car accident that caused your injuries. Although you can pursue a claim on your own against the driver through his or her insurance, doing so is generally not in your best interest.
The insurance company’s only goal in the wake of an accident is to pay the claimant as little as possible. Adjusters for the other driver’s insurance carrier will do everything they can in service of this goal, from asking you leading questions to recording your statement so it can be used against you later. You might even receive a call from the insurance company in the days after the accident offering a quick settlement.
Hiring a car accident lawyer is the best way to avoid falling into the traps set by adversarial insurance companies. Your attorney can handle all communications with the insurer on your behalf, cutting through the facade of friendliness and fighting for the compensation you deserve.
All personal injury claims (including those involving auto accidents) are subject to a time limit known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is separate from the length of time you have to notify the insurer of the accident; it refers to how long you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
The insurance company should be able to tell you honestly how long you have to settle your claim or file a lawsuit. (For the record, C.G.S. § 52-584 sets the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Connecticut at 2 years.) If the insurer will not give you a straight answer, you should consider talking to a car accident attorney as soon as possible.
The impact of a crash on your car insurance rate can be unpredictable. If the evidence shows that the accident was 100% not your fault, you have the least likelihood of seeing an increase in premiums.
However, Connecticut operates on a comparative negligence rule (see C.G.S. § 52-572o). Although the other driver may be primarily at fault for the crash, you can still be found partly liable. In addition to reducing the compensation you are able to recover, a finding of even 1% of fault on your part can result in higher car insurance rates in the future.
Insurance companies are required to furnish insureds with documentation about their claim on request. Be sure to ask the claims adjuster or other representative to send you a copy of your file.
Review the file to ensure that all of the information is correct. If you notice inaccuracies, it is important to identify them as soon as possible so you can dispute adverse decisions concerning fault, low settlements, and more.
Virtually no one from any insurance company is going to answer this question honestly. Insurers do not want victims to seek legal counsel after an accident because, as a rule, they end up paying more when attorneys get involved.
Use this question as a means of determining whether the insurance company intends to treat you fairly. If the adjuster or another employee tries hard to dissuade you from contacting a lawyer, you should probably seek legal representation.
Dealing with insurance is one of the most challenging parts of life after a car accident. The attorneys at The Flood Law Firm understand what you are going through and we are here to assist you during this difficult time.
Every member of our team is a “true believer” in our mission to hold careless drivers and insurance companies accountable when innocent individuals are hurt in vehicle accidents. Our lawyers are well-known to insurance companies for the many successful trial verdicts and accident settlements they have achieved, as well as their tenacious commitment to representing clients.
If you have been in a car accident in Connecticut and need assistance dealing with one or more insurance companies, please call The Flood Law Firm at (860) 346-2695 today. Your initial consultation is free.
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