Whew!! I’ve certainly handed out a lot of tasks for you to do immediately after a Maryland Automobile Accident. Trust me, you’ll be glad you followed my advice.
I’ve got one more thing for you to do. After you’ve hung up from talking to your lawyer pick the phone back up and dial your insurance carrier.
But it wasn’t my fault Steve. Why does my insurance company need to know about the accident? Good question. Actually, there are several reasons why you need to put your insurance company on notice:
1) SPEED. No, not the speed of your car. The speed of YOUR insurance carrier to take care of your immediate needs should the at fault insurance company decide to investigate or deny your claim.
There’s no guarantee that the other insurance carrier is going to see the accident the same way you do. The other driver may give a different version of what happened (actually other driver’s lie quite frequently about the events of an accident) or the other driver may not even cooperate with his or her own insurer. All the while, your car is sitting in front of your house or in the tow yard NOT REPAIRED.
The quicker you notify your carrier the quicker it can authorize the repair of the vehicle and a rental car (provided you have collision coverage on your policy). There, now your life doesn’t have to be put on hold because the other insurer is investigating.
2) PIP OR MEDPAY. If your insurance coverage includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (Med Pay) then the sooner you alert your insurer about the Maryland Motor Vehicle Crash, the sooner you’ll likely be able to get medical attention.
Yes it’s true that some medical providers will begin treating your injuries once they confirm from your lawyer that you have a valid injury claim. However, an increasing number of Maryland doctors and physical therapists want a PIP claim number from the victim’s insurer before they’ll treat.
Once you notify your carrier that you wish to make a PIP or Med Pay claim, it will forward the application forms to you or your lawyer to complete and return. Don’t forget that in Maryland you have one year from the date of your accident to submit your PIP form to your insurance company. If you don’t file the application within one year you are disqualified from making a PIP claim.
3) UNINSURED DRIVERS. A 2006 study by the Insurance Research Council revealed that the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists in Maryland is 12%. That’s approximately one in eight drivers.
If the other driver involved in your accident is uninsured, your only recourse (other than suing the other driver which is usually senseless because if they can’t afford insurance they likely don’t have two pennies to rub together) is to make an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with your carrier. Maryland law requires insurance companies to provide UM benefits to all drivers so even if all you have is liability coverage you still have UM coverage.
The faster you put your insurer on notice that you’ve been in a Baltimore auto accident, the faster your insurance company can process your UM claim should the defendant not have insurance.
Finally, be a good policyholder if you’ve been in an accident. Contact your insurer at once and give it all the relevant information pertaining to the collision. This allows the carrier to set up a claim and to investigate quickly which could save you valuable time and aggravation while pursuing your case.