If there’s only minor damage and you trust the other person involved, you could work out an agreement that leaves car insurers out of your California traffic collision. It might save you on insurance premiums, but it could also leave you at risk.
You should definitely speak to a California car accident lawyer when your accident involves serious injuries or you are being blamed for a crash you didn’t cause. Maison Law offers a free consultation to all California car accident victims. It’s a no-risk way to find out what you can do to protect yourself after a crash.
California Car Accidents Without Car Insurance Adjusters Involved
A collision on a California freeway or boulevard may put you in a confusing predicament. After minor car damage, some drivers like to leave auto insurers in the dark about what happened. You may also be tempted to work out an “off the record” deal because you’re afraid of having an accident on your record and your insurance rates going up.
The good news is that California law prohibits insurance companies from raising your rates for an accident you didn’t cause.
You must be cautious when another driver doesn’t want to get insurance companies involved after an accident. The driver may offer to pay for your car damage out-of-pocket. But you may find that at-fault drivers are reluctant to contact car insurance providers because they are traveling without car insurance. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely they could afford to pay out of pocket to fix your car.
These are some of the other concerns to consider if you enter a “handshake agreement” with another driver after a California accident:
- The expenses may go far above what the other driver can pay out of savings.
- The driver may have never intended to pay you anything. The offer of cash was just a way to get out of paying the consequences.
- You may learn the driver didn’t have any car insurance.
- You may violate your own insurance company’s reporting policy. You could have your coverage canceled.
- You could give up your right to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurer at a later time.
- You could want to file an injury claim weeks later but end up with no evidence of what happened in the accident.
For these reasons and others, it’s critical to gather evidence on the scene of your accident and collect information from the other driver. Take photos of the car damage. Get car insurance and driver’s license information from the at-fault driver even if don’t plan to file with insurance.
A California car accident lawyer also helps you secure strong evidence, including witness testimony, after a serious accident. The protection of a lawyer is a safeguard when you need help holding other drivers accountable, even when they attempt to block the use of a car insurance company.
When Should I Settle a California Car Accident Without Insurance Involved
It’s always better to have the security of an official report and the option to file an insurance claim after any accident. But some drivers decide to skip a call to 911 and an insurance agent after a fender bender.
You should only consider settling a car accident yourself if an accident results in very minor damage and there are no injuries involved. And don’t agree to any deal without car insurance if you don’t trust the other driver. If you don’t know the other driver or have a reason to trust the driver, it’s safer to get law enforcement and car insurance companies involved.
There are also California laws that require you to report certain accidents to state agencies. If you must report your accident, you will no longer have the option to keep it from your car insurance provider.
When Must I Report a California Car Accident?
When your car accident damage totals reach a certain limit or there are injuries involved, California requires you to notify certain authorities. Once these reports are made, it’s likely that your car insurance company will also receive word of what happened.
The local police or the California Highway Patrol must be notified within 24 hours of an accident that involves any injury or death.
A report (SR-1 form) must also be filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles if the accident reached any of these limits:
- Property damage in excess of $1,000 for at least one person involved.
- There was a personal injury no matter how minor.
- A fatality resulted from the accident.
Am I Required to Let My Car Insurance Provider Know About an Accident?
You are required to alert your car insurance company to any collision you’re involved in. The deadline will be listed in your policy. It could be as short as 24 hours after a crash.
Some drivers ignore this requirement in accidents that involve only involve some bumper damage or some dents and dings. Keep in mind that if you don’t report an accident, a car insurer could use the information as a reason to cancel your coverage. You could also forfeit your right to file a property damage or injury claim at a later date.
Contact Maison Law After a Serious Accident
If you have doubts about what you should do after an accident, there’s no risk in calling a skilled California Car Accident Lawyer. Maison Law offers a free, confidential car crash consultation. You can find out if you should be demanding more from a driver and an insurance company.
Contact Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law, especially after an accident involving a serious injury. Insurance companies like to find ways to shift blame to you or downplay your injury when medical bills start to grow. You will have the knowledge you’ll need to hold a car insurance company responsible for every hardship you’ve endured.