Check Your Car Insurance Policy

It’s in your best interest to report the crash to your car insurance provider as soon as is reasonably possible. This is the safest practice to protect your legal rights and reduce unnecessary complications. This also applies to rental car accidents, although you must also report the collision to the rental company. 

How long you have to submit accident information depends on the provider and your specific insurance policy. This time limit is typically detailed in the fine print. Some policies may allow up to 30 days to report the accident, but you don’t want to leave this to the last minute. If you’re unsure, an experienced car accident attorney can review your policy with you.

Reporting the accident to your insurer is different from filing a personal injury lawsuit. For the latter, the statute of limitations in Virginia is typically two years. Seeking damages through legal action can be complex. Giving your legal counsel as much time as possible to investigate the case and formulate a winning strategy is important. 

Importance of Reporting the Incident

Among the things you need to do after a car crash in Virginia is to report the accident to your insurance provider. This doesn’t mean you’re obligated to provide full details—while an adjuster may press for more information, you can let them know that your lawyer will be in touch. To report the crash, you just tell them: 

  • Your name and insurance information.
  • The time and location of the accident.
  • Information about the other driver(s) and vehicle(s).

Article 11 of the Code of Virginia addresses accident reports. Section 46.2-371 states that drivers must report car accidents to state police or local law enforcement. This applies if the accident involves any property damage, injury, or death. Failing to do so is a Class 4 misdemeanor. The legal obligation is to report within 24 hours, but it’s best to call 911 while you’re still at the scene of the crash. 

Risks of Failing to Report

The primary risk of not reporting the incident is that if you do need to file an injury or damages claim, the carrier might deny it. An insurer may argue that you violated the terms of your policy. Even if you don’t think you’ll need to use your own insurance to recover car accident damages, because the other driver is at fault, it’s still best to report the accident within the time limit. 

Reporting an Accident vs. Filing an Insurance Claim

When you call your insurance company to report an accident, this isn’t the same as filing a claim. The legal team at The Mottley Law Firm can advise you on what options you have to get the fair compensation you deserve. 

Handling the First Call to Your Insurer

Before reporting a Virginia car accident to your insurance provider, keep these tips in mind:

  • Meet with your car accident lawyer to discuss your case first.
  • Get the name and contact information of the employee you’re speaking with before explaining the details.
  • Remain calm and composed throughout the phone call.
  • Stick only to the basic details, like the time and location of the collision.
  • Ask the adjuster to contact your lawyer to discuss any further details. 
  • Don’t accept or negotiate for a settlement. This is a common car crash mistake you must avoid. 
  • Don’t agree to a recorded statement. 
  • Take notes on what was discussed and what information you provided. 

An Experienced Richmond Car Accident Attorney Protects Your Rights

You may be tempted to handle your claim on your own, especially if it seems the other motorist was obviously at fault. An insurance adjuster may reassure you that they’ll handle everything. Even so, it’s prudent to have a skilled car accident lawyer in your corner. We’ll protect your legal rights and ensure you’re treated fairly.

Accepting what the insurance adjuster states at face value may be simpler, but they may not have your best interests at heart. These cases have many moving parts, such as proving liability in a multi-car accident. An insurer may offer a lower settlement amount that doesn’t cover all your current and future medical expenses, or drag out the proceedings only to deny the claim eventually. 

Our dedicated legal team gathers evidence, interviews witnesses and experts if needed, and builds the strongest case possible. We fight for your right to fair compensation and help you earn the justice you deserve. When you partner with us, you’ll be heard and valued.

Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims