Motor claims specialist Town & Country Assistance says fleet bosses have to reach the third party involved in an accident, or face soaring claims costs.
'If you do not get to the third party in less than 24 hours, the chance of having any impact on the action diminishes by 75 per cent,' said Theodore Agnew, executive chairman of Town & Country.
'We win over about 40 per cent of third parties, and get them to have their vehicles repaired in our bodyshop network, and to accept a courtesy car rather than a credit hire vehicle.'
He added that anecdotal evidence suggests reaching, assisting and compensating the third party in the shortest possible time can also reduce the likelihood of facing a personal injury claim because third party drivers are then less likely to bear a grudge.
This can have a significant impact on reducing the cost of claims, with the proportion of personal injury claims up by 25 per cent in the last decade, and the cost of settling them up by twice the rate of inflation, while legal costs have doubled in the past two years.
'Success depends on our customer's driver ringing us immediately after an accident, and we can fill in a claim form over the phone,' said Agnew.
He added it was relatively straightforward to assess liability in an accident from the driver's description, and then to contact the third party.
But company drivers who delay informing their insurer or employer of an accident, perhaps because of fear of the consequences or the lack of internal fleet reporting procedures, could unnecessarily inflate the cost of settling the claim, which will have a direct impact on a fleet's insurance premiums.