FAQ GUIDE TO REPORTING A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT OR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM IN CALIFORNIA
What does the reporting of a typical auto accident claim in Los Angeles involve?
MarieMini Van Accident | Boyle Heights, CA
Typically you start by calling in and reporting an accident with a customer service representative of your own insurance company’s claims department and provide that representative with information regarding your accident. Thereafter, the following events may occur in various order:
Call and report an accident with a customer service representative of the other driver’s insurance company’s claims department and provide information regarding your accident. Beware, this is where they may first ask you how your accident occurred and if you were injured. Give the wrong information and your claim will be jeopardized!
Speak with the assigned adjuster of your own insurance company who will ask you more specific information regarding the accident. Be careful what you are asked, sometimes they may ask you policy application questions that are designed to see if you committed fraud on your application — if that is the case your policy may be invalidated and you will not be afforded coverage by the insurance company!
Speak with the assigned adjuster of the other driver’s insurance company who will ask you more specific questions regarding details of your accident. Be careful here as well, the other driver’s insurance company owes you no duty to be truthful or act civilly. They may question the facts of your statement, try to tell you that you were at fault, get you to admit to things such as not paying attention or using your cellphone, or try to impress upon you that you could not have really been hurt in the accident.
Draft and fill out a written accident report form from your own insurance company summarizing details of the accident.
Draft and fill out another written accident report form from the other driver’s insurance company summarizing again the details of the accident.
Provide a recorded statement regarding the accident to the other driver’s insurance company, which statement is recorded because they want to potentially use such statements against you at a later time. We do not typically allow insurance companies to take recorded statements of our clients; they are not usually calculated to do anything but prejudice the client at a later date, however, if you are not represented by counsel, the insurance company may try to intimidate you into giving a recorded statement — by saying that if you don’t submit to the recording you must be lying or hiding harmful information or by informing you that not giving a statement will send your claim to SIU (special investigations unit).
Continue to provide updates regarding status of vehicle repairs and medical treatment throughout the claim process.
I do not feel the same as I did before the accident. What types of injuries should be reported to the insurance?
RobertoSUV Red Light Accident | Whittier, CA
Calculated questions and directed statements made by an insurance adjuster may lead you to question if you were at fault for an accident and/or question the nature and extent of your injuries. An adjuster may ask if you were injured, how the injuries occurred, if you had pre-existing injuries, if the car is driveable, where the car is located, and how the accident occurred, amongst other things.
With respect to injuries, some people may assume that they did not suffer any “injury” because they were not taken to the hospital from the accident scene and have no obvious broken bones or external bleeding. However, adrenaline, shock, anger, fear, excitement, and similar feelings such as you would likely experience after a car accident, tends to mask pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, the first round of post-accident questions are usually asked immediately after the accident prior to the victim/driver being able to obtain any medical evaluation.
According to the medical professionals, the post traumatic symptoms from car accidents and vehicle collisions generally appear days or even weeks after an accident. This means that the actual injuries you sustain from an accident aren’t likely to appear until much later when the initial shock of being involved in that accident wears off.
Therefore, it is critical that the applicable insurance companies are aware that you are still in a state of shock after an accident and that the extent of your injuries have to be thoroughly evaluated by medical professionals before you can give a statement as to those injuries. Your premature responses regarding your “injuries” immediately after an accident can serve as the basis upon which an insurance company will deny or minimize your claim for bodily injuries.
The insurance company told me that I need to provide a recorded statement. Is it required?
DianaOverturned Jeep Accident | Westminster, CA
Reporting your own claim can be very time-consuming and intimidating because insurance companies often will demand you to fill out a “written statement” about the accident and also request that you provide a “recorded statement” whereby and adjuster will ask a series of questions and record your verbal responses which potentially can be used later against you. However, many insurance adjusters often neglect to inform that you are not required to give a recorded statement at all and you may provide a written statement instead. If you refuse to give a recorded statement, the insurance adjuster may try to intimidate you by saying they will send your claim to SIU (special investigations unit) or by insinuating that not submitting to a recording means that you have something to hide. Don’t be intimidated by the insurance companies! Call Venerable Injury Law after an accident; the insurance companies have tons of resources and professionals on their side, and you should too!
What's the benefit of getting the lawyers at Venerable Injury Law to report my claim versus giving it a try myself?
JamieMultiple Car Freeway Accident | Culver City, CA
Once you choose Venerable Injury Law to handle your personal injury case, you won’t have to waste your time contacting insurance companies to report your accident, which can be time-consuming and intimidating. In fact, you won’t have to contact insurance companies to report your claim at all.
We not only save you the time and hassle of reporting your claim, but we also seek to ensure that the relevant insurance companies do not overlook or minimize your damages and injuries.
If you contact us immediately after an accident, you may prevent yourself from wasting time filing out endless forms and answering the same questions over and over to different insurance company representatives and employees!