Pedestrian Accident Question
October 26, 2019 12:18 AM   Subscribe

I was in a car accident recently where I hit a pedestrian. The person said they were fine, but I called the police, they had him looked at by paramedics and said they wouldn’t be filing a police report because there was no damage to the vehicle and no injury to him. The police didn’t ask me for my insurance information but I’m unsure if that was because they were able to access it electronically. Should I contact my insurance company to inform them of the accident? I was told not to by someone who is not a lawyer. I’ve had fender benders where everybody exchanges insurance but nobody calls, but this seems different - for instance, what about coverage for future liability if injuries develop over time?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, absolutely tell your insurance agent exactly what you've said here, and be guided by their response. If anything changes (injuries do sometimes become evident after a delay, as you mentioned), your agent will be better prepared to help you if they already know the situation.
posted by Weftage at 5:07 AM on October 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you call your insurance company even if the pedestrian doesnt it will go down as a claim and could spike your rates. Theres no law that says you have to call in every collision unless you are guilty of leaving the scene. Your agent will contact you if there is ever a claim reported and the fact that the police said you were not at fault (sometimes the vehicle has the right of way) should let you know it's not necessary to call.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 5:21 AM on October 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

You were the driver of a car that hit a pedestrian? And police and ambulance were called? CALL YOUR INSURANCE IMMEDIATELY. The cops aren't obligated to check your insurance because they can do that later. They took your name, your license info and your car's plate number, right? There was a police report filed somewhere, right? The fact that paramedics said the pedestrian was fine means absolutely nothing to your liability.

Every single automobile insurance policy in the country requires policyholders to immediately report any accident in which they are involved. Failing to report an accident to your insurance company means they could hang you out to dry.

What happens if the pedestrian gets home and decides a week later they can't go to work? Or, maybe injuries later appear that weren’t obvious at the accident scene? If, after several weeks or months they make a claim for injuries that have cropped up, your insurance company might deny you because you failed to promptly report the accident. The only time it might be reasonable to avoid reporting an accident to the insurance company is if the accident happens in your vehicle, on your property, no injuries are involved, and the only damage is to property that you own.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:31 AM on October 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Just because they are ok didn't mean that paramedics evaluation wasn't expensive, because it was. Someone will be billed for that.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:54 AM on October 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hi, I handle auto accident Bodily Injury insurance claims (in the US) for a living. Yes, you should report this to your insurance so that they have a record of it on file and can be proactive if there is anything they determine they need to do to protect you as far as civil damages the pedestrian could bring against you. It's unlikely the pedestrian will pop up from the woodwork but I have seen it happen in similar cases. You actually have language in your auto insurance policy contract that says you're required to report any accidents to them on a timely basis. It's rare that insurance companies would deny a claim for being reported a few weeks or months late (barring any issues with statutes of limitation) but it's the reality of what's in your auto insurance policy contract.

Also, who "owes" the medical bills depends on 1) liability / if you'd actually be considered at fault in civil court, which is what your auto insurance is there to investigate, and 2) the laws in state the accident happened in.

I'd be happy to answer more questions / get into more specifics via MeMail.
posted by nightrecordings at 6:57 AM on October 26, 2019 [12 favorites]

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