The insurance company is likely going to ask you to provide a recorded statement about the accident. It would be in your best interest to not provide one until you have spoken to an attorney.
If you do provide a statement, the insurance company may try to use your own words against you to diminish the value of your claim. They can use a variety of statements against you, even statements as simple as “I’m okay.” Just saying you are alright after the crash can be twisted by the insurance company to make it sound like you are not injured and they should not have to pay for your medical bills.
When talking to the insurance company, if there is anything you are unsure about, just tell them they should refer the question to your attorney.
Crash victims are often unprepared for questions from the insurance company. For example, they are unprepared for the way insurance adjusters may ask the same question in different ways because they are fishing for information. They are trying to get victims to make contradictory statements, admit fault or downplay the severity of their injuries.
That is why it is so important to allow your attorney to talk to the insurance company on your behalf. Insurance companies are going to try to keep you on the phone and talking just waiting for you to say something that hurts your case.
It would be in your best interest to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a crash. Not only can this help to establish causation between your injuries and the accident, but it may also help stabilize your injuries to prevent further damage.
If you wait to see a doctor after the accident, the liable insurance company is likely going to try to deny or devalue your claim. They will argue that you were not injured in the collision because you did not need medical attention and you are only filing a claim to get money. Even if you manage to prove you are injured, the insurance company will say that your injuries were a result of another incident and they should not be held liable.
Get to a doctor as soon as you can after a crash even if you do not feel injured. Some ailments may not present symptoms until the adrenaline from the incident has worn off, which could take several hours or even a couple of days. Waiting to get treatment may make your injuries worse than they would have been had you sought immediate medical attention.
Despite the ability for undocumented immigrants to obtain a valid California driver’s license, there are still those who choose to remain unlicensed, uninsured or both.
If you are injured in an accident caused by an undocumented immigrant who is neither licensed nor insured, you may still have legal options for recovering compensation. If you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM), you may be able to file a first-party claim. UIM is an optional insurance add-on, so be sure to review your policy with a knowledgeable attorney.
There are multiple reasons why a police report is necessary in the process of filing an accident claim.
Documents the Accident
Either the at-fault driver or liable insurance company may try to deny an accident occurred. If you have a police report, it serves as documented proof of the crash.
Included in your police report should be the date and time of the collision. Therefore, if the driver tries to argue the incident occurred on a different date, you can prove he or she is lying. This also helps if the insurance company tries to deny coverage by arguing the motor vehicle policy was not in effect at the time of the crash.
Includes Notes from a Preliminary Investigation
The police officer who responds to the accident should include his or her notes from a preliminary investigation.
The report should include where and how the accident occurred. If the police officer suspects one driver was intoxicated, this should also be in the report, along with the results of any field sobriety or breathalyzer test conducted at the scene. In some cases, this may not be accepted as proof of an inebriated individual, but it could help provide a foundation for building a case.
Includes Important Information From Involved Parties
It is important to get insurance and contact information from the other driver, or drivers, involved in the collision. This makes it easier to file a claim with his or her liability insurance.
Without a police report, you may need to rely on getting the information directly from the driver, who may be unwilling to give you accurate information. If he or she believes you are at fault for the collision, he or she may not want to provide you with any insurance information.
However, when the police are involved, all parties must provide insurance details as well as contact information.
Includes Contact Information of Potential Witnesses
If there are any witnesses to the collision, the responding police officer will most likely speak to him or her. The details of this conversation should also get included in the report.
In case you are unable to get the witness’ information directly from him or her because your injuries prevented you from doing so, the person’s contact details should be included in the police report. This could help if you need witness testimony to back up your claim.
There are several accident scenarios when having UM/UIM coverage may be useful.
When the at-fault driver flees the scene of an accident, there may not be any available insurance for some time. In fact, only about 10 percent of all hit-and-run drivers are caught and held accountable.
Even when these drivers are caught, it is likely they do not carry insurance. This may be why they fled the scene of the accident in the first place.
A no-contact accident occurs when one driver causes an accident without ever damaging his or her vehicle. An example of this is if a driver runs you off the road, causing you to crash into a solid object, and then keeps going.
Even though you are not at fault for the collision, there is no other driver whose insurance you can file a claim with because the other driver likely has no idea the crash happened.
Accidents With Unlicensed or Undocumented Drivers
UM/UIM coverage may also be useful if you are injured in an accident with an unlicensed driver, as he or she most likely does not have insurance coverage.
Although undocumented immigrants can obtain a driver’s license in California, so they can purchase insurance, data shows that many cancel or downgrade their coverage shortly after paying their first premium.