Should I speak to the insurance company following an auto accident?

Speak To The Insurance Company

Yes and no. Your own insurance policy likely requires you to report any accident you are involved in to your insurer, irrespective of whether you were at-fault. With respect to the insurance companies of other drivers or parties, you are under no similar obligations or duties to speak with them or cooperate with their investigation.

You will want to report the accident to your insurer so they can handle the property damage portion of the claim. In fact, your insurance policy likely requires you to provide the following information as soon as reasonably possible following an accident:

  1. your name;
  2. the names and addresses of other individuals involved;
  3. the time, date, place and basic factual circumstances surrounding the accident; and
  4. the names and contact information of any witnesses of which you are aware.

You will want to provide this information immediately to the extent you can because some policies set deadlines for reporting on certain types of claims. Moreover, if you caused the accident, you must also notify your insurer immediately upon receipt of notice of any claim or lawsuit filed against you. Generally speaking, you owe a duty to your insurance company to cooperate with its processing of the claim. However, in the event your own insurer seeks a recorded statement or an examination of you under oath, you should first contact an attorney before providing such a statement or examination.

With respect to the insurance companies of other drivers or parties, you are under no similar obligations or duties to speak with them or cooperate with their investigation. You do not have to speak with them directly, and we strongly advise against providing any recorded statements or examinations under oath. If you contemplate having to pursue a claim for personal injuries caused by the accident, you can simply ignore their calls and attempts to contact you. If you do speak with the other insurer(s), you may simply let them know you will contact them if/when you are in a position to make a claim.

Moreover, if you were injured and were not at-fault for the accident, it is especially important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to avoid prejudicing your claim. Call Sacramento & Elk Grove-based lawyer John O'Brien 916.714.8200 for a free consultation. Although you generally have two (2) years to pursue a personal injury claim in California, the time to make a claim may be shortened to as little as six months following the date of the accident based on the specific circumstances surrounding the accident and/or the identity of the responsible party or parties.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is not a substitute for legal advice and in no way constitutes legal advice or gives rise to an attorney-client relationship. Adequate counsel is fact-dependent and requires independent analysis and inquiry specific to your situation and circumstances. This article is simply meant as a guide to explain in general and brief terms certain issues and serves to provide general information. Contact John M. O’Brien & Associates at 916-714-8200 if you require legal help or wish to seek legal advice for your specific legal issue(s).