In the first 24 hours after an accident, a trained insurance adjuster is focused on collecting all the details of the accident for purposes of determining fault and potential bodily injury or property damage. This includes contacting, taking statements, and collecting contact information from all participant drivers, passengers, witnesses and police officers. Often, the severity of the accident is in question, especially when tractor/trailers are involved, so detailed photographs of the subject vehicles can be critical to later arguing that the claimed injuries are inconsistent with the minimal damage to the vehicles as shown on the photographs. Accident site photographs while the vehicles are still there are also relevant when fault for an accident is in dispute. Finally, prompt reporting allows your adjuster to establish a relationship with the claimant before they retain an attorney which typically results in a more reasonable resolution of the claim.
If accidents are not reported to us promptly, we may lose forever the identity and benefit of a favorable witness, or a definitive photo of the damage to the vehicles or their position at the accident scene. This information gap could lead to higher settlement values versus a claim where we are notified promptly and are able to collect and preserve all the information needed to investigate, evaluate and resolve the claim on your behalf.
Insureds often tell us that they do not report an accident promptly for a number of reasons, including “I wasn’t aware that anyone was hurt,” “I didn’t think I was at fault,” “My agent told me to report all claims to them” or “I didn’t want my premiums to rise.” While we understand all of these reasons, the failure to promptly report a claim directly to your insurance company can only serve to potentially prejudice the company’s ability to get you the best result on that claim. Once a witness or piece of evidence is lost it is often difficult to recreate or discover it at a later date. If an attorney is hired before we can establish a relationship with a claimant, the attorney will control that claim on behalf of the claimant.
Please don’t delay! Urge your drivers to report all accidents to you and to your insurance company promptly no matter how minor or whether or not they think they were at fault. If we learn about your accidents promptly, we will be in a better position to get you the best result. Thanks and safe driving!
Claims Hotline: 800-452-6911