Although driving history is only one component when determining a driver’s insurance premium, a driver’s car insurance rate will likely increase (sometimes significantly) following a motor vehicle accident. The premium rate increase will usually depend upon the driver’s insurance company.
Some insurance companies raise rates whenever an individual files a claim. Therefore, the insurance company might raise your rates even if you are not at fault for a car accident. The accident history may also remain on your record for three to five years, depending on your insurance company.
Fortunately, you lower your premium following an accident. An experienced car accident lawyer in New York can determine the effects that your car accident may have on your annual insurance premium.
In addition to concerns about insurance rate increases after an accident, you can file a claim for monetary damages after a car accident. An experienced car accident lawyer in your area can file a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim with your own insurance company – or, in some cases, a third-party personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer in your case.
Your attorney may also negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf and pursue the total monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries, medical treatment, lost income, and other accident-related losses.
How do Insurers Determine a Driver’s Premium Rate?
Insurance companies use several resources to determine a driver’s premium rate:
- Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) – A motor vehicle record details an individual’s complete driving record, including any accidents, license suspensions, license violations, and traffic tickets that the driver received over a period of time. The report will also indicate whether the driver has any convictions for driving while intoxicated – or DWI – on their record.
- Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) – This report lists an individual’s insurance claims history over the previous seven years. In addition to motor vehicle accident claims, this report will detail any property claims the individual made over the seven years.
Never hesitate to clarify the factors an insurer will consider when determining your premiums.
How Can You Lower Your Car Insurance Premium Rate After a Car Crash?
Your car insurance premium may increase following a car accident, even if you are filing a claim with your own insurance company (and even if you did not cause the accident).
Fortunately, you can decrease your car insurance premium by:
- Taking advantage of any multi-vehicle discount that your insurance company offers
- Bundling your car insurance policy with other types of insurance policies, such as renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance
- Taking advantage of driver affiliations, where insurance companies offer discounts to members of certain professions, including members of the military and first responders (e.g., police officers and EMTs)
- Using defensive driver discounts, where the insurance company might offer a discount if a driver takes a qualifying defensive driving course
- Using safe vehicle discounts, where the insurance company offers a discount if vehicles have anti-theft devices, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and other safety devices on their vehicle
- Paying your entire premium bill in full, as opposed to installment payments over a set period
Your insurer should answer any questions you have about how to lower your monthly premiums.
If you file any claim with your insurance company, you may see a premium rate increase. However, some motor vehicle insurance companies offer first-accident forgiveness as part of their policy. With first-accident forgiveness, the insurance company will not raise a driver’s insurance rates if they file a claim under their policy – and if it’s their first accident.
In some instances, a driver will need to specifically add first-accident forgiveness to their policy. At the same time, other insurance companies offer this add-on as a free perk if an individual has a clean driving record.
Always check with your insurance company to see if you qualify and, if so, if there is an additional cost. The terms of first-accident forgiveness will also vary from insurer to insurer, so check the policy specifics and language.
Common Car Accident Injuries
When motor vehicles strike one another, serious injuries may result to the drivers and passengers in those vehicles. The injuries that an accident victim may sustain in a car crash will depend upon where they are sitting in the vehicle, their bodily movements at the time of the crash, the type of accident that occurs, and other accident-specific circumstances.
In some cases, such as in multi-vehicle accidents or particularly forceful collisions, a part of the accident victim’s body might strike something in their vehicle, like the steering wheel, console, window, ceiling, dashboard, or headrest, bringing about debilitating injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that car crash victims might suffer include traumatic head and brain injuries, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, loss of vision, mouth and jaw injuries, tooth injuries, soft tissue contusions, broken bones, rib fractures, spinal cord injuries, bruises, open lacerations, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, and death.
Following a motor vehicle accident, your first step should be to seek all of the medical treatment that you need to get better. Once you complete your medical treatment regimen, your car accident attorney can start advocating for you by submitting the necessary documents to the insurance company adjuster on your behalf and negotiating a favorable settlement offer in your case.
Filing a PIP Claim after a Car Accident
Regarding motor vehicle accidents in New York, the state follows no-fault insurance laws. Therefore, in most car accident scenarios, an accident victim must file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim with their own insurance company for various monetary damages after their accident.
As part of a successful PIP claim, an accident victim might be eligible to recover monetary compensation for their lost income, household services, transportation costs, and related medical expenses.
However, if they suffer a threshold injury in their car accident – such as a broken bone or other permanent medical complication – they may be eligible to file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Your car accident lawyer can determine if you must file a PIP claim with your own insurance company or pursue a third-party claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Your lawyer can also explain the potential insurance ramifications of filing a PIP claim with your own insurer.
Filing a Third-party Personal Injury Claim for Monetary Damages After a Car Crash
An accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof to recover monetary damages as part of a third-party claim. Specifically, they must demonstrate that the at-fault driver did something wrong under the circumstances, such as by violating one or more traffic laws. They must also demonstrate that this breach caused both the car accident and the physical injury or injuries they suffered.
If a car crash victim can satisfy the necessary elements of proof in their case, they can recover various categories of monetary damages. Those damages may include compensation for anticipated medical expenses, mental anguish, distress, loss of spousal consortium, loss of life enjoyment, loss of use of a body part, lifetime care costs, and permanent disability or disfigurement.
Your car accident lawyer can determine your eligibility for filing a third-party personal injury claim and handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives for you. If the insurance company will not make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer may take your case to court.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Right Away
If you recently suffered injuries in a car crash, the last thing you want to do is deal with pushy insurance adjusters on the phone.
Once you hire a car accident lawyer to do that for you, they can examine the potential ramifications regarding your insurance policy and premiums. They can also take action to pursue a reduction in your insurance costs.
Additionally, your personal injury attorney may file a PIP claim or third-party claim on your behalf and seek the monetary compensation you deserve for your bodily injuries and other accident-related losses.
Never wait to seek your free consultation with a car accident lawyer.