One of the unfortunate truths of life is that you can do everything right and still have something go wrong. This is also true in car accidents. Even the best drivers get into accidents sometimes. After all, you cannot stop other people from acting negligently or recklessly. Dealing with an auto accident is never fun, but it is certainly even more bothersome when the crash was caused by someone else. You may be asking yourself: Why should you have to pay for someone else’s mistakes?
Fortunately, in the state of Colorado, if you have suffered personal injury or property damage in an accident, you may be legally entitled to seek legal help and collect compensation for your losses. Still, there are certain things you must do in order to have a successful Colorado car accident claim. One of these things is exchanging your insurance information with the other driver(s) immediately after the accident.
You may wonder why you need to tell anyone your insurance information if you were not the one who caused the accident. You might be thinking to yourself that insurance only exists to cover any damages that the innocent party suffered. In this blog post, we will give you a brief overview of why exchanging your insurance information is so important.
One of the most important reasons you must exchange insurance information is that you are legally obligated to your insurance provider to do so. Once you have signed the contract to be granted car insurance, you enter into a legal agreement with the insurance company. Signing the contract means that you agreed to abide by all the terms of the policy. These terms will almost always include a clause regarding timely loss reporting. Timely loss reporting means that you are obligated to report any losses you suffer to the insurance company as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not you intend on pursuing a claim.
Timely loss reporting is meant to work both in your favor and your insurance companies. It gives the provider enough time to investigate any potential claims, and it gives you enough time to start building a successful case. Claims only become harder and harder to investigate (and to successfully resolve) as time goes by. Vital pieces of evidence may be lost, witnesses may move, and vehicles may even be totaled or sold. Should you choose to pursue a claim, you must do so as soon as possible, before any of these factors have the chance to influence the outcome.
Should you fail to report your losses immediately, your insurance company may have the right to deny your claim on the basis of untimely loss reporting. This is true regardless of any losses you may have suffered. The insurance provider may even cancel your insurance contract and/or refuse to insure you indefinitely. Such stipulations are generally specified in the fine print of your insurance contract.
Furthermore, your insurance company may provide you with certain benefits in the case of an accident. Keep in mind that insurance policies can help the policyholder, too—not just the other party. A not-at-fault collision may provide you with a certain amount of coverage. For instance, your policy may provide you with med pay benefits. These benefits may be used to cover any medical expenses you may have incurred as a result of your accident.
Your insurance policy may also provide you with uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is self-explanatory—this provides you with certain benefits when you have been hit by an uninsured driver. Underinsured motorist coverage provides you with certain benefits when you have been hit by an underinsured driver, meaning someone who does not have a policy adequate enough to cover all your damages.
Such insurance benefits can drastically minimize your out-of-pocket costs. This may even be true if you have not purchased med pay or uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits. You may still be covered by such benefits if the insurance company is unable to produce the waiver you must sign when declining to purchase such coverages.
Many drivers are hesitant to report any incidents to their insurance companies in case their policy premiums will go up. However, it is important to keep in mind that insurance policy premiums are dictated by risk. In other words, premiums are higher for those at greater risk of getting into accidents. This means a not-at-fault collision will not work against you—and cannot be used to increase your policy premiums.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean that your premiums will never go up after an accident. There are many various factors that may influence your premium rates, such as location-specific risk factors. However, not-at-fault collisions will never be the reason for an increased premium rate. Ask your insurance agent for more details if you see any changes in your rates. You may even want to ask that they put it in writing, so you can see a complete breakdown of the changes in your policy from term to term.
It can feel difficult and overwhelming to take care of an auto accident claim on your own, especially if you do not have a full and comprehensive understanding of the law. You need someone on your side you can trust. Fortunately, you do not have to go through it alone.
If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a car accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country.
You should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide auto accident attorneys. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their automobile accident cases. We can help you too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.