Cautions with Using On-site Phone Apps to Report Car Accidents

Most of us turn to our smartphones when we’re in sudden need of answers to important questions. When you’ve just been involved in a car accident you’re probably reaching for your phone anyway to call 911 and get help, so the next step for some drivers is to notify more than just the police about the wreck.

Nearly all of the major car insurance companies now have phone apps to allow policyholders to report a crash as soon as it occurs. While this is can be a convenient tool, it also comes with some risks.

On-Site Reporting is Convenient But Don’t Do It in Haste

Every company has its own level of features on its app for recording and reporting a car accident. Some serve just as information collectors so you can easily bring the photos and information to your claims adjuster once you initiate the claims process. Others allow you to submit the information immediately and open a claim right at the accident scene.

If you’ve just been in an accident then you’re probably shaken up, in pain, and overwhelmed, definitely not the time to be making any serious decisions. By choosing to open a claim you are allowing your insurance company to begin investigating your crash, whether it was a minor fender-bender with no serious damage or injuries or a catastrophic multi-car collision.

By opening a claim with your insurance company you are seeking coverage under your own policy limits. This means you will need to meet your own deductibles and will only be able to collect damages up to the limits on your own policy.

Beware of What You Share

Most of the insurance company apps have an all-inclusive feature set that takes you through each part of documenting your claim. They’ll have a photo feature, and many have an option to type in or speak the details of your accident and that’s where you may run into trouble this is essentially giving a recorded statement if you send the data to your insurance company.

If you’re at the scene of the accident and already recording your involvement in the crash then you likely won’t be thinking clearly. It’s very important that you don’t misrepresent yourself after a car crash, traumatic or otherwise.

A recorded statement – written or verbal – submitted via a smartphone app is just as valid as one taken by phone or in person by an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters have been known to use statements as evidence against claims.

Mostly, they use recorded (phone, in-person, and text-based) to prove that a victim’s injuries aren’t severe as reported and will at a later date reduce the amount of monies in a settlement.

Your smartphone probably already comes equipped with the basic tools necessary to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. As long as you have the ability to take pictures and/or video and type notes or make voice recordings, you have the ability to document the accident.

The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile give our clients in Southampton and nearby communities the personal attention that no on-site mobile app could ever accomplish. Call 215-642-2335 or visit us online to set up a free no-obligation consultation.