Should I Call My Insurance Company After a Minor Accident?
Even minor car accidents can leave you and your family shaken. At first glance, these accidents may not seem as expensive to contend with as larger collisions. As such, you may be reluctant to reach out to your insurer. After all, if you can brush the incident under the rug, your rates will stay the same – right?
Unfortunately, it’s never a good idea to try and hide a car accident from your insurer, even a minor one. Not only will you want to report your minor accident to your insurance company, but you’ll also need to report it to local police officers. Then, you can speak with a car accident lawyer about potential compensation.
What Are Virginia’s Roadway Fault Rules?
Virginia is an at-fault state. When two or more vehicles get into an accident, both drivers’ insurance companies will assess the scene and determine which party bears the responsibility for the accident’s losses. Should one party bear significantly more fault than the other, it’ll be that party’s insurance provider who has to cover the other person’s damages.
This is always the case, even when the accident in question is minor. A scratched bumper may need superficial repairs, for example. What looks like a minor scratch may result in a $2,000 door replacement. In either scenario, contacting your insurance provider can keep that cost from coming out of your savings.
When Should I Call My Insurance After a Car Accident?
Virginia requires all drivers to report a minor car accident resulting in property damage within 24 hours of its original occurrence. It’s not your insurer who you have to report to, though. Instead, it’s local law enforcement.
Comparatively, each insurance company operating in Virginia has its own deadline for your minor accident claim. In general, you’ll have thirty days from the day your accident occurs to submit a claim.
Fulfilling an Insurance Claim
While your insurer may request specific information regarding the nature of your accident, both representatives and law enforcement will request that you include the following information alongside your report:
- Your name
- Your address
- Your driver’s license number
- Your vehicle registration number
If you don’t contact area law enforcement after a minor accident, there’s a chance you may face misdemeanor or felony charges. If you’re not sure how to proceed, a car accident attorney in Virginia can help you represent your accident to the best of your ability.
What Can My Insurance Do After a Minor Accident?
After a minor accident in Virginia, your insurance company can help you cover the cost of superficial repairs, tire replacements, and small property replacements.
However, Virginia is an at-fault state. This means that if you contributed the majority of the fault to the accident in question, there’s a good chance that your insurer will have to help you contend with another person’s losses.
Does My Insurance Base My Coverage on Contributory Negligence?
Virginia complicates what insurers are and are not allowed to do courtesy of its contributory negligence policy, Civil Remedies and Procedures § 8.01-34. This policy notes that drivers who contribute even 10 percent or less of the fault to an accident will have to rely on their own coverage to pay for their losses.
This law also carries into civil cases. You will not have the right to pursue additional compensation for your accident if an allegedly-liable party can claim that you contributed to the accident. With that in mind, prepare to work with attorneys to overcome claim refutations.
Should I Contact an Attorney After a Minor Accident?
Fortunately, there’s a silver lining to the insurance-based bureaucracy a minor accident can bring about. No matter what your accident losses look like, you can always reach out to an attorney to discuss what compensation you may be owed.
Our team can look over your accident, assign liability, and contest any limitations contributory negligence policies might put on your damages. In this same vein, we can help you overcome any delays put in your path by a reluctant insurer. We can communicate with a provider representative on your behalf and help push your claim through.
We offer these services and more on contingency. You won’t receive a bill for the consultations or representation you benefit from. Instead, we’ll go over our contingency fee agreements in your initial consultation. After that, you won’t have to worry about legal fees bogging down your recovery.
Can I Receive Compensation for My Car Accident Losses?
You can file civil suits for minor car accidents. While you’ll have to contend with Virginia’s contributory negligence laws, there is a chance that you can receive compensation for any repairs you need or losses you faced.
While there is no average minor car accident settlement, you can estimate yours by assessing your tangible and intangible losses. Tangible losses come with bills, while intangible ones need to be established through precedent. Some of the most common damages resulting in compensation after a minor car accident include:
- Personal injury
- Mobility aids and pain management
- Property replacement or repair
Compensation for a minor accident may not be as substantial as it would be in a larger case. You can work to calculate financial support available through both a civil suit and your insurance company with an attorney ahead of time. With this estimate on hand, you can determine if it’s worth it for you to pursue negotiations.
Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Financially Recover From a Car Accident
For more information about what to do after a minor car accident, you can reach out to a personal injury attorney. Representatives with Christina Pendleton & Associates, as well as with your insurance provider, can walk you through your best steps when it comes to your post-accident recovery.