Q. Do I have to notify my insurance company if someone sues me for bodily injury or personal injury but there was no damage or very little damage to my car?
A. Yes. The amount of property damage has nothing to do with injuries. You must notify your insurance company immediately or you can lose your insurance coverage.
Someone Who Was Injured When The Car Had No Damage
We had a client who was injured in a car accident when he was hit in the rear but he didn’t know he was injured and there was no collision damage at all to his car. Because there was no damage to his car, he didn’t call the police and almost didn’t even get the other car and driver’s information. As he was about to leave, he decided to get the driver’s information just in case he found damage when he got home.
An hour later, his pinky finger became very swollen and painful. He went to the hospital and found that he had a broken pinky and needed surgery. He was out of work for two months because he was a dentist and needed his hand to work. He was earning $25,000 per month salary and lost a total of $50,000 in salary.
We created this medical illustration to give to the defense insurance company to show why we were demanding payment of the entire insurance policy to settle the case. The insurance company immediately settled by paying the entire insurance policy.
How Often Is Someone Injured When The Car Had No Damage?
A good percentage of our cases involve people who don’t even realize they were injured at the time of the accident. Obviously, they don’t look injured at the scene of the accident. But see how some seemingly minor injuries can become serious injuries.
But either when they get home or the next day, their shoulder, knee, or back starts hurting and they go to a doctor. Sometimes, they just get medical treatment for a few months but often within two or three months after the accident, they need surgery.
Why Do I Need to Notify My Insurance Company When There Was No Damage to the Car?
You paid your insurance company to defend you and pay any claims against you if you have a car accident. You might as well get what you paid for.
If you notify your insurance company, you will get two very valuable benefits which could cost you a lot of money if you don’t have insurance.
The first benefit mentioned above is to defend you. This means that the insurance company will pay for a personal injury defense lawyer to defend you. If someone files a lawsuit against you and you had to hire a lawyer, it could cost you as much as $50,000 or more.
The second benefit is to pay the claim made against you. This is actually two benefits in one. Let’s assume that you have an insurance policy with a $100,000 liability limit.
First, if the person, who you thought wasn’t injured, had surgery, your insurance company should offer to settle the claim for the entire $100,000 limit so you don’t have to.
Second, your insurance company will not agree to pay the $100,000 unless the person making the claim against you signed a release which releases you from any further liability. You’re completely off the hook.
What do you have to do to be protected against some who sues you?
- Pay your insurance premium on time.
- Promptly notify your insurance company of an accident, claim and/or lawsuit against you.
- Cooperate with your insurance company by giving them a statement and appearing for a deposition if you are required to because a lawsuit was filed.
Tip: Don’t lie to your insurance company about how the accident happened. You may be afraid that your insurance premium will increase your insurance premium if they think the accident was your fault but your premium may not increase. More importantly, if the accident really was your fault or partially your fault and you claim it wasn’t, your insurance company will probably not agree to settle the claim. This will cause a personal injury lawyer like us to file a lawsuit and go after your personal assets. Some New York personal injury lawyers like us may refuse to accept a settlement at the time of trial. Lying to your insurance company can put your personal assets at risk.
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