If you were involved and were the at-fault party in an auto accident and need to make a claim under your insurance policy, calling the insurance company is the logical step to take. But what happens if you believe the other party was at fault for your car accident?
If you have reason to believe you sustained injuries in an auto accident as a result of another party’s actions, you still need to call your own insurance company.
When it comes to auto accidents and insurance, the state of New Jersey adheres to a “no-fault” system. Simply put, this means that New Jersey drivers involved in an auto accident must first turn to their own respective auto insurance policies in order to cover any medical bills and other accident-related expenses. Under the no-fault scheme, your insurer should cover your economic losses - regardless of which party is at fault.
The no-fault insurance coverage in New Jersey is commonly known as PIP or Personal Injury Protection. This basic form of coverage extends to medical expenses, lost wages, and other essential services, and does not typically cover vehicle damage or pain and suffering.
Though no state requires drivers to report auto accident to their insurance companies, such a legal obligation arises out of your insurance policy terms. Standard auto insurance contracts require the insured individual to report any auto accident within a reasonable timeframe - regardless of the state you are from. You do not necessarily need to call your insurance company at the scene of the accident or immediately after it transpired, but it is crucial that you notify them as soon as possible. Failure to report the accident within a day or two may result in the insurer denying coverage for it.
When calling your insurance company, be prepared to provide them with details such as the time and date that the accident took place, the complete name and contact information of all involved parties, as well as the specific law enforcement agency that responded to the accident. The insurance company will also need as much documentation as possible, so you will likely need to provide a copy of the accident report, medical bills, repair quotes, and photographs of the accident damage. If you are unclear about the full extent of your injuries, be sure to let your insurance company know that you are still undergoing medical treatment and evaluation.
Remember that the sooner you call your insurance company about your accident, the sooner you can obtain the accident-related compensation you need.