After a car crash that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to get money from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy by filing a compensation claim. That’s because Oklahoma is considered an “at-fault” state, which means that the person who caused the crash has to pay for any damages (typically through their insurance coverage).
Most insurance companies require drivers to report any crash to them within a certain time frame of it happening. If you’re banking on having your medical bills and lost wages paid through the other driver’s insurance policy, you may feel like there’s no need to report the crash to your own auto insurance provider—especially if you weren’t at fault. But failing to do so can have several undesirable consequences.
Your Rates Could Increase Significantly
Although insurance companies don’t always raise rates for drivers who are involved in crashes that weren’t their fault, some do. This increase is typically minimal and around 10%.
However, if you don’t report the crash to your insurer on time and they find out about it anyway, your rates may increase more than they would have—or your policy may be canceled altogether due to you violating your contract.
You Won’t Be Eligible for Supplemental Coverage
There are many underinsured and uninsured drivers roaming Oklahoma’s highways. If one of them causes a crash that injures you, you’ll need to pursue compensation through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, if you purchased one. However, if you fail to report your accident to your insurance company on time, you may be ineligible for that money, regardless of how much coverage you purchased.
MedPay coverage can also kick in to help pay some of your accident-related expenses after a crash. Unlike uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it can be used to pay accident-related medical expenses regardless of how much money you’re getting from the other driver or even if you were at fault for the crash. But as with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can’t access this policy if you fail to report the crash during the allotted time.
You May Get Sued by the Other Driver
Crashes often go unreported because both drivers decide to forgo getting their insurers involved, or they decide on a “gentleman’s agreement” where they will handle any damages and expenses on their own. Attempting this strategy to avoid premium increases or other possible insurance-related consequences is a bad idea.
That’s because the other driver may suddenly renege on their words at the crash scene and start blaming you for the crash. They also may suddenly claim to have suffered serious injuries or claim that damage to their vehicle was caused by you during the accident.
If the other driver sues you and your insurance company didn’t know the crash happened until the lawsuit is underway, your policy may be dropped and you may face paying the other driver out of pocket if their claim is successful.
What Is the Time Limit for Reporting a Crash?
The time limit for reporting a crash to police in Oklahoma is “immediately!” That means you shouldn’t leave the crash scene without notifying police, waiting for them to arrive, and either leaving in an ambulance if you’re seriously injured or being told by police that you’re cleared to leave.
The time limit for reporting a crash to your insurance provider varies from provider to provider and policy to policy, but typically, the deadline is around 30 days. However, the sooner you report the crash, the better, especially if the other driver attempts to file an injury claim against you, or if you need to tap into your policy to access supplemental coverage.
The time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car crash in Oklahoma is two years from the date it occurred.
Are There Situations Where You Don’t Have to Report a Crash?
Yes. Minor auto accidents that don’t damage another vehicle or person’s property don’t have to be reported to your insurance company. For example, if you back into a fence on your property and cause only minor scratches to it or your vehicle—or no damage at all—there’s no need to report it to your insurance company, as the damage isn’t significant and doesn’t impact anyone else.
We Make Insurance Companies Do the Right Thing After Accidents
After a crash, you may think that the other driver’s insurance company is the one that will cause headaches. But even though you pay monthly premiums to your auto insurance company and may have been a loyal customer for years, there’s still a good chance they will reduce or deny you benefits, too!
Too often, innocent victims are left holding the bag after crashes because both drivers’ auto insurers get greedy and don’t hold up their end of the deal. That’s where we come in. At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys will work hard to get you paid fair and square, whether your claim is solely through the at-fault driver’s insurance or your own.