Trying To Settle Your Case On Your Own
Insurance adjusters are usually very nice and they will act like they are your best friend. They may tell you that “you don’t need an attorney” and “we can work something out,” but do not be fooled. They know that they can settle your case with you for far less, usually thousands of dollars less, than if you had an attorney. Now, pursuant to the Florida Bar Rules of Ethics, I cannot make representations or make guarantees regarding results. However, even after attorney’s fees, the vast majority of my clients still end-up farther ahead, and many times much farther ahead, than if they had settled their cases on their own.
Notify Local Law Enforcement
Minor accidents normally occur at low speed and result in minimal damage.
Most minor accidents are caused by:
- Drivers backing out of parking spaces or driveways
- Slippery roads from weather conditions
- Distracted drivers
- Rear-end collisions in slow-moving traffic
Its important to report the accident to local police. Even if you suspect the collision was your fault, it benefits you to notify the police. Most states require drivers to notify police for minor auto accidents, depending on the estimated amount of vehicle damage.
In larger metro areas, the police might not respond to accidents without reported injuries or hazards. Still, you need to have an official record of the accident, even if its just a record of your call to the police.
Get Help From An Experienced Colorado Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident, you make a potentially costly mistake if you fail to call the police and get a police report on file. You also make a critical error if you fail to get legal help right away.
The Sawaya Law Firm has helped injured people throughout Colorado for more than 35 years. Our car accident lawyers can work with you to seek the compensation you deserve after a crash occurs. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how our skilled and dedicated legal team can help you.
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Failing To Realize How Hard The Insurance Companies Even Your Own Insurance Company Will Fight Against You To Lower The Value Of Or Even Deny Your Claim
After you get into an accident and the claim is reported, the insurance companies will assign adjusters to handle the various claims. I used to defend the insurance companies, and, honestly, most adjusters are good people who are just doing their jobs â they are, personally, not trying to do you wrongâ¦.well, most of them are not. However, the insurance companies have policies and procedures in place, and these policies and procedures are designed to make the most amount of money possible for the company and for its owners or shareholders â this is a simple by-product of the corporate structure. Certainly, insurance companies do not make profits by over-paying people for their claims. And, insurance companies will tell you that they try to pay the actual value of valid claims. However, I would point-out that they, in fact, would make more money by not paying claims at all, assuming that there was no recourse for non-payment. This is a simple, factual statement. I’m not saying that this is what they do all the time, I’m just pointing-out that the incentive to act in this manner is present. In reality, they have policies and procedures in place to maximize profits, and, in reality, these policies and procedures make it very difficult to obtain even moderate value for a valid claim â especially without the assistance of an attorney.
File Property Damage And Bodily Injury Claims
When you contact the other drivers insurance provider, youll be given a claim number. You will refer to that number in all communications going forward. Your claim will be assigned to an adjuster, who will work with you throughout the claims process.
The insurance company will want proof of the other drivers fault in the accident. The circumstances of the accident and the evidence youve gathered, including the official police report, should be enough to convince the claims adjuster to accept your claim.
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What To Do After A Minor Car Accident
If you’re in a minor car accident where no one is hurt and there’s little damage to anyone’s car, it may be tempting to drive away and go on with your day. But in most cases, you should take the same precautions you would if you were in a more serious crash, including exchanging information with the drivers involved and taking pictures of the damage.
Should I Call My Insurance Company After A Minor Accident
Yes. It’s essential to contact your insurer if you’re in an accident with another vehicle because it’s not always possible to determine how severe someone’s injuries are or how badly a car is damaged at the scene. No matter who was at fault, your insurer can work with the other insurance company to sort out the details and make sure there’s no delay in processing claims that are filed.
It’s important to contact your insurer if you’re in an accident with another vehicle, even if the accident is minor.
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Protect Yourself By Reporting Fender Benders
Minor car accidents typically cause only minor dents and dings to your car. If no one was injured, you might be tempted to leave the police and insurance companies out of it. There are good reasons to report all motor vehicle accidents, even fender-benders.
You might be worried your insurance rates will go up. However, even a seemingly minor collision can cost you plenty down the road if you arent careful.
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What Are The Legal Requirements For Reporting Car Accidents In Colorado
Under Colorado law, you must call police to a car accident scene if:
- Anyone involved is injured or dies.
- Public property is damaged such as a guardrail.
- A driver leaves the scene .
- A driver involved in the crash appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
You do not have to call police for other car accidents. Still, you must report the accident. You can easily make a report by using Colorados Online Crash Reporting System. A law enforcement agency will not investigate a crash that a person reports online.
A police officer who responds to a car accident may not file a report if no one suffers injury, and the officer thinks the value of property damage does not exceed $1,000. However, the officer must report the crash if a driver requests it, or if either driver cannot show proof of auto insurance.
At The Sawaya Law Firm, we suggest that you call the police after any motor vehicle accident and ask the responding officer to file a report if it appears that the officer does not plan to file one. A police report on file gives you an official third-party report about the accident. If you file a claim, or if another driver files a claim against you, the report will prove to be highly beneficial.
The Law Might Require You To Call The Police
This is not a complete list of the laws and considerations, but it is important food for thought. If you strike or injure a person in an accident you are required to call the police immediately pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 31-26-3.
You need to immediately notify the police if you are involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to a person, or if any vehicle is damaged enough to prevent normal and safe operation. R.I.G.L. § 31-26-3.2.
You must immediately notify the police if you are involved in an accident with a bicyclist. R.I.G.L. § 31-26-3.3.
If you injure a domestic animal , you have to give immediate notice of the accident to the owner of the animal if known or the police pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 31-26-3.1.
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Should I Call The Police After A Car Accident
Some of the most common questions people have following a very minor car accident have no black or white answer. Most of the answers associated with car accidents and whats required of them are gray, and they all have a special consideration or two. Many people are involved in small accidents each day. These are so minor people dont even ruin the progression of their day to deal with them. They have a little bit of an inconvenience, but its not bad enough there are injuries involved or any significant damage to their vehicle. This could be something backing into you in a parking lot, someone hitting you with a grocery cart, or even a minor bump when someone lets off the brake too soon at a stop light or stop sign.
Minor fender benders happen, and most people arent too worried. In fact, many people wonder if there is any reason they need to contact the police. If the damage is so minor you neednt report it and can have it repaired for very little on your own, why report it? Before you assume you can get away with forgoing a call to the police, its best to learn what the law requires.
Q: Is Calling the Police Necessary?
Theres nothing wrong with reporting an accident of any severity, but you dont want to break the law by not calling the police when state law requires you call. What you should always do is exchange personal information with the other driver. This includes your names, contact information, and your insurance information.
When Am I Required To Report An Accident
The requirements to report an accident depend on the severity of the accident, the extent of injuries suffered and the amount of physical damages incurred. In some cases, you may be required to immediately report an accident to the police. In other cases, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company and to a collision reporting centre once you have taken care of matters at the scene of the accident, and sometimes you do not have to report an accident at all.
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Work With Your Claims Adjuster
Once your claim has been submitted, you will receive a call from one of your insurance companys Claims Adjusters. Your adjuster will review your policy with you so understand what you are covered for and which items your insurance company will compensate you for. Your claims adjuster can answer any questions you might have about the process.
If at any time you have questions that you want to get answered, reach out to your insurance broker or agent.
Being in a car accident is extremely stressful. Following these steps will not only help to ease your stress but also help to make sure that everyone is properly taken care of in the event of a collision.
Giving A Recorded Statement To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company
This is not the worst thing in the world to do. If you have nothing to hide, then there should be no issues. Simply tell the truth. Problems arise when people give a statement and they either bend the truth, exaggerate, or even flat-out lie. Even small exaggerations can come-back later on to really hurt a case. And, trust that the insurance company WILL find out.
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Creating A Safe Environment
After an accident, especially a serious one, police presence creates a safe environment for the investigation into the accident. By blocking off the road affected by the accident, they ensure that valuable evidence isnt lost. They also create a safe environment from other cars and frayed nerves so that they can talk to everyone involved, including the witnesses.
Do You Call 911 For A Minor Car Accident
Car accidents can easily be a traumatic experience for everyone involved. In some cases, they can even result in significant property damage.
Interestingly, though, many people believe that you dont always need to for law enforcement in every scenario. So, do you call 911 for a minor car accident? Weve got all the info you need.
Lets explore why you should still contact the police even if the accident is minor.
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How To Know Whether To Call The Police After A Car Accident
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 128,558 times.
Anyone who has ever been in a car accident can immediately tell you that they are extremely scary and stressful. No one knows when a car accident might happen, but if it does you need to calmly assess the situation in order to determine whether or not it is necessary to call the police right away. The key factors are the extent of the damage to the vehicles, whether or not anybody is hurt and the actions of the other driver. For a minor dent when both drivers stop and share insurance information, it won’t be necessary to involve the police at the scene.XResearch source But you will need to file a report with the police for your insurance claim. The laws regarding reporting traffic accidents may also vary depending on your state or country, so it’s always wisest to call the police after an accident.
Important Tips For Taking Good Accident Photos:
- Take photos from multiple angles and distances .
- At night, take photos using a flash and no flash see which setting shows the true lighting at the scene and whether the damages are visible in the photos.
- If youre using a camera thats not part of a smartphone, turn the time/date stamp feature on, if available.
- If youre using a smartphone, turn on your location services setting.
If you cant take photos due to an injury or stress, ask a friend, family member, witness or police officer to take photos for you.
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Can I Just Settle Minor Crashes With The Other Driver
You can, but again, this is not recommended. Some injuries like concussions may not be fully observable until days after the accident. Your vehicle may have sustained more damage than you think it did. Getting an officer to write a police report will be a record of the accident and what happened. This is useful in the future if you find out damage or injuries were more severe than you first believed.
Police Reports Can Play An Important Role In Your Accident Claim
You should also report an accident of any size or significance to your insurance company as soon as you can. The report will not affect your premium unless you file a claim. Still, if you file a claim, or the other driver files a claim against you, having a police report as well as notification to your insurer on file will help to protect you.
A police report represents an independent assessment of the accident and provides crucial information about all of the parties who were involved in the incident. An insurance company and your lawyer will want to review the police report as they assess your claim.
Here are two other reasons why it will benefit you to have a police report of your accident:
If someone else caused your car accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation for all costs related to your injuries, vehicle damage expenses and more. If you were injured, no health care expenses should come out of your pocket if someone else was at fault.
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What Are The Penalties For Failing To Report A Car Accident In Colorado
Failing to report a car accident in Colorado is a class two misdemeanor traffic offense. You may spend up to 90 days in jail and pay a fine of up to $300. If you fail to report an accident and someone is injured, your offense is a more serious class one misdemeanor offense. If the injury is severe, you may face a class four felony. If someone dies and you fail to report the accident, you may face class three felony charges.