Should I report an accident to my insurance company even if there was no harm done?
October 3, 2008 8:03 PM   Subscribe

A little kid ran in front of my car in a parking lot and I hit him. He was not hurt and there was no damage to my car. The boy's mother apologized and told me everything was okay. We did not exchange any information. After I drove away she called the police and filed a bogus report. What to do?

Thankfully there was a witness and his report to the police matches mine. I don't believe I'll be in any legal trouble. The officer I spoke to said the woman and her story were both "a little off."

What I am worried about is my insurance. Should I report this incident to my insurance company? Should I file a claim even though there was no damage? Is there anything else I need to do to cover my ass in case she sues or files her own insurance claim?
posted by tipthepizzaguy to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can let your insurance company know. They actually want to help you cover your ass. I had a kinda similar situation happen, and even though the girl never filed anything against me, I reported it and my insurance company sent someone out to take photos of the scene, etc. just in case.
posted by fructose at 8:11 PM on October 3, 2008

Call your insurance company, and a lawyer, who might offer a free consultation.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:18 PM on October 3, 2008

I would phone your insurance company asap. They will most likely take a statement from you and the witness, and collect any documentation. Do this while your memory and (lack of) evidence are fresh.
Good luck. I hope this goes away quickly.
posted by valannc at 8:20 PM on October 3, 2008

call the stores and get their security tapes if possible might (?) be a good idea, but this sounds like something your insurance co's lawyer(s) will have to pursue.
posted by troy at 8:51 PM on October 3, 2008

Take notes of everything anyone says and get your own photos of the scene, it will help you frame details of your memory.
posted by Freedomboy at 10:06 PM on October 3, 2008

Amen. And ask if charges can be filed against her for falsely accusing you. This might be a pattern for her - maybe not this exact incident, but her behavior is beyond the pale.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:11 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Insurance companies will generally have some procedure for letting them know about stuff like this without causing you grief. Mine just had me fill in a standard claim form and mark it "report only". Talk to your insurer.
posted by flabdablet at 11:31 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wait. I'm confused. It sounds like you spoke to the police after the fact - what exactly did he say? What is the next course of action? Is the mother pressing charges? Do you need to file further reports?

You say you don't think you're in legal trouble, so what exactly is the problem here?

Sure. Call your insurance company. The phone-drone on the other end is going to say, "Uh huh. Uh huh. Can I have your policy number? Uh huh. Uh huh. Can you verify the last four digits of your social security number please? Uh huh. Uh huh. Do you have an accident report? Huh? You don't? No harm done? Cop said not to worry? Then why are you calling?"
posted by wfrgms at 12:23 AM on October 4, 2008

Yes, insurance policies typically have terms requiring you to give notice of an occurrence or claim as soon as possible, and it is possible for them to deny coverage if you have failed to do that, depending on the exact wording of the policy, the law of the state in which the policy was issued, and other factors (length of delay, whether their investigation of the occurrence/claim was prejudiced by the delay, etc.). You absolutely should advise your insurer that there has been an occurrence.
posted by MsElaineous at 4:40 AM on October 4, 2008

At the risk of repeating myself, always call the police in any accident. Otherwise there is no official witness.
posted by Gungho at 9:18 AM on October 4, 2008

Keep in mind that sometimes witnesses go away. The statute of limitations might be long enough that they'll just wait until you can no longer track down the witness, and then sue you out of the blue. (That happened to me.) I'm not sure how that translates into advice, but there it is.
posted by callmejay at 10:22 AM on October 4, 2008

Call your insurance company. Depending on your policy, they will likely find and pay for a lawyer if you get sued.

Sounds like you will get sued. Happened to me, too, and I didn't know it was coming until I received a citation months after the accident. At least you have a heads up...use it to your advantage.
posted by emd3737 at 10:43 AM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

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