Should I Handle My Car Accident Without Notifying Insurance?
As the name suggests, a minor accident doesn’t cause any significant harm or injury. As such, most people tend to take it lightly. The thought of not involving an insurance company is always on their mind, and most people will always go ahead with this idea. As a result, they end up settling the claim on their own.
But is it worth it? Should you handle the car accident without notifying your insurance company? Here’s what you need to know.
When Should You Consider Settling Without an Insurance Claim?
Most jurisdictions don’t have a law that mandates policyholders who get into a car accident to report the accident to their automobile insurer. California is no exception.
As such, reporting an accident to an insurance company isn’t an absolute requirement. Therefore, you can choose to consider settling without the insurance company.
Most people engage in private settlement when and only when the accident is minor. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always help since something that appears to be a minor accident may actually be more serious.
That said, if you consider settling without insurance following an accident, you need to ensure that both of you are in agreement. The other driver ought to be comfortable with the mode of settlement.
For instance, if the other driver finds it imperative to make a claim with their insurance, then you should also report the accident to your insurance company. However, if they are comfortable with direct payments, you can agree to this method as well.
Essentially, an agreement is crucial when determining whether to settle without insurance.
How Should You Settle in a Car Accident Without Insurance in California?
If you are satisfied that settling without involving an insurance company is the right way to go, you need to take steps that will ensure that you don’t compromise your rights or any of your interests in the future.
The following are some of the key steps:
Exchange contact information with the other driver
This is a crucial step after an accident. Typically, you need to exchange vital information such as the name, address, phone number and license number. Just in case, you might want to get their driver’s insurance information.
Take a picture of the damage
Taking pictures of the damage to both cars helps provide cogent evidence and may be used as proof of an accident when disputes arise in future. Furthermore, it can be used when computing the amount of compensation required.
Obtain a police report
Even when the accident is minor, it is imperative to have a copy of the police report containing all the accident details.
Get a quote from a mechanic
A mechanic’s quote will help determine the extent of the damage and the amount to pair it. You can also get multiple quotes from two to three reputable mechanics. This will help you weigh your options, and it will inform your decision about whether you want to proceed without the insurance company.
Maintain a record of all correspondence
It is important to keep a paper trail after making any payments. Documentation provides you with valid evidence as proof of the transactions that took place.
Draft a legal agreement
As this is a commercial transaction, you need to have a legally binding agreement. Essentially, such an agreement should be governed by the law of contract, which necessitates that there should be a valid offer, acceptance and consideration. What’s more, the parties involved should have the legal capacity to enter into such an agreement.
For the avoidance of doubt or error, you should contact a personal injury attorney who can help you draft such an agreement and ensure that it is legally binding.
Is Handling a Car Accident in California Without Insurance a Good Idea?
As noted earlier, you can sometimes handle a minor car accident without insurance.
However, there are benefits and risks to doing so. When in doubt, consult with an attorney immediately before making any decision that affects your rights and interests in the future.
Essentially, a competent and qualified personal injury attorney will help you weigh your options and advise you on the best option to take.
California’s Car Accident Statute of Limitations
California’s accident claims are governed by the statute of limitations. This statute provides the time limit for filing a personal injury claim within this jurisdiction. The law provides that a claimant who wishes to file a claim for compensation should do so within two years after the accident.
This means that a claim filed after two years may end up being thrown out for being time-barred. It’s best to file a personal injury suit or claim as soon as the accident occurs to avoid any legal hurdles that may arise in the claim process.
Need Help Handling a Car Accident Claim in California? Call LA Century Law!
If you or your loved one was involved in an accident, consult a competent and qualified attorney immediately. An attorney will help safeguard your rights and ensure that you make the right choice. They’ll provide you with a breakdown of the law that applies in your case and assist you in arriving at a more informed decision.
At LA Century Law, we have established experience handling car accident claims. We can help you make the right decision relating to your car accident. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.