Assume for a moment that you were injured in an automobile accident that another driver caused. While you may have insurance, the at-fault driver might as well. You know that you can file an injury claim with an insurance company to recover compensation for your injuries. But do you file the claim with your own insurer or the insurer of the other driver? For both Californians and Washingtonians, the answer is with the at fault party’s insurance company.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault States
State law will help determine which insurer you file your injury claim with. States have either no-fault insurance laws or at-fault insurance laws.
No-fault states require drivers to file an injury claim with their own insurance company, even if the drivers are in no way responsible for causing the accident. At-fault states say that you file an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That driver’s bodily injury (BI) insurance will cover your medical expenses up to the policy limits.
Both California and Washington are at-fault states. This means if you were injured in a car collision in either state, and another driver caused the incident, you would file an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Duty to Report Your Accident to Your Own Insurer
No matter if you reside in a no-fault or at-fault state, you still have a general duty to report an auto accident to your own insurer. Note that an auto insurance policy is a legal contract between you and your insurance company. After an auto accident, the insurance company has a responsibility to fulfill their contractual obligations to take care of you.
You also have responsibilities found under the “cooperation clause” of your insurance policy. Generally, these clauses require you to participate and cooperate with any claim investigations. They also require you to:
- Report your accident promptly,
- Provide any information necessary to investigate your claim, and
- Sign medical releases.
Failure to uphold your end of the contract can cause your insurance company to refuse to renew your policy, raise your rates, and possibly even cancel your policy.
It’s generally a good idea to gather any related paperwork and information that you can before reporting your accident to your insurer. Useful information includes the:
- Other driver’s contact and insurance information,
- Police report (if this is not available, the insurance company can request it from the police department),
- Names of any officers that responded to the incident,
- Statements and contact information for any witnesses,
- Medical reports from your injuries, and
- Notes you might have about the accident.
Contact The Premier Injury Law Firm for Help
If you or a loved one was injured in a car or rideshare accident, please know that the Premier Injury Law Firm is here to help. Our legal team is skilled, experienced, and passionate in their representation. Let us shoulder the burden of an injury claim or lawsuit while you focus on healing from your injuries. Contact us today for the quality legal help you deserve.