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California Insurance Claims for Minor Car Accidents

Should You File an Auto Insurance Claim After a Minor Car Accident?

When to File a Claim

Are you unsure whether or not to file an auto insurance claim? West Coast Trial Lawyers is here to help. Before deciding to file an insurance claim, it’s important to understand how auto insurance claims can work either in or against your favor. Overall, it is ideal to file an insurance claim immediately after an injury or property loss. By doing so, you are protecting yourself legally and are protecting your pocket, as well.  You pay your insurer to help you take care of any losses in the case of an incident so you won’t have any out-of-pocket expenses. However, it is important to be aware that for each inquiry or accident report you make, the higher your premium may become. Also, you must consider how your deductibles might affect your coverage when deciding to file a claim.

Do You File a Claim When the Other Driver Is At-Fault?

If the other driver involved in the car collision was at-fault, you must file a claim. This will result in your insurer contacting the other driver’s insurance company and reporting that accident as the fault of the other driver. They will then be responsible for covering any injuries or losses caused.

It’s Best Not to File a Claim When There Is No Other Party Involved and There Are Only Minor Damages

When there are minor accidents that don’t involve another person, it would be best to look over the damage and determine if you are able to afford paying it yourself. If you believe your insurance company isn’t capable of covering your damages because it does not meet your deductible, it is best not to file a claim or contact them about the collision. It’s better to pay for any minor damages, especially if there weren’t any other drivers involved, because insurance companies will assume you are accident prone due to recurring reports you would make if you were to call them every time there was minor damage made.

Calling Your Insurance Company to Inquire About a Possible Accident 

Making an inquiry with your insurance company about a possible accident is essentially reporting it. Insurers keep a record of these inquiries and if they think there was damage done, they may increase your premium, regardless of whether it was your fault or not. Depending on the number of inquiries or accident reports you make, insurance companies may view you as accident prone.

Determining Whether to File a Claim or Not by Considering Your Deductibles

A method of determining whether you should or should not file an insurance claim is if the incident exceeds your deductible amount for a collision. Deductibles are certain amounts implemented into your insurance policy for collision repair. You have to meet the minimum deductible amount before your insurance company initiates the payment for any damages done.

For example, if you have a $500 deductible, then you must pay for the first $500 worth of repairs. Once that is completed, the insurance company will pay the remaining amount. Make sure you carefully choose your deductible amount because predicting how much something is going to cost to repair is nearly impossible. Factors that contribute to the cost of repairs include:

  • Severity of damage to the car body.
  • Paint requirements.
  • Certain types of materials.
  • Difficult time locating the parts.

Overall, it is recommended to file a claim that is over your deductible amount. If you are primarily paying for minor damages, it would help you keep your premiums low without having any repercussions on your driving record. However, if you continuously report accidents, your insurer may consider raising your premiums because they see you as a risk.

Available Damages

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

West Coast Trial Lawyers will not charge you for a consultation. Our clients are represented on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk to prevent you from reaching out. Our qualified personal injury lawyers are highly-trained and have extensive experience with cases that are similar to yours. We are committed to helping you resolve your legal issues as quickly as possible while receiving the best results.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of emotional distress from an injury, reach out to our legal team 24 hours a day by calling us at (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].

Read More About Car Accidents 
Our excellent team of car accident attorneys have created several resources for you to read through. Feel free to browse these topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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