Interviewer: When someone gets into an accident and they do have insurance, what will the insurance company begin to ask them? Should they contact a lawyer prior to that point?
Daniel Hoarfrost: In general terms, the earlier you get a lawyer involved, the easier it is to wind your way through the process of dealing with either company, your own company or the other driver’s company, if there is one.
But typically at the outset, the insurance companies want what happened. They want to know what the facts of the accident were because they are also interested in assigning fault to whichever driver, and ultimately, whichever company is going to be the one that has to pay.
After You Have Sustained Injuries from a Car Accident, the Highest Priority Is to Seek Appropriate Medical Treatment
But when someone’s involved in an accident, gets injured, the paramount concern is getting the appropriate medical treatment. So you’ll want to contact your own company and get the PIP file, which is the PIP coverage started. This way, medical bills are taken care of in the ordinary course.
The Insurance Company Will Ask about the Facts of the Accident and about Any Injuries You Have Sustained
As part of that process, the insurance company will want to find out what the facts of the collision were, and how it came about, and what kind of medical treatment is involved. They will ask what kinds of injuries are being treated. So it’s a relatively routine procedure and it’s not necessarily all that adversarial at the beginning.
If There Is Any Contention about the Accident, Either with Your Insurance Company or the Other Driver, It May be Advisable to Retain an Attorney Early in the Proceedings
Occasionally, if there’s a contested situation where the other driver doesn’t necessarily agree that they were the ones at fault, it’s helpful to have witnesses that can help explain the situation. And definitely in a situation like that, you’re better off having representation early on, which does mean hiring a lawyer.
If You Receive Notice of a Suit after an Accident, Contact Your Insurance Company
Interviewer: What if I get into a vehicular accident and later on I get a call that someone wants to take me to court or someone claims that they were injured? What should I do?
Daniel Hoarfrost: That’s why you have insurance. Contact your insurance company and say, “A claim is being made against me and you need to defend it.”