What Not to Say to the Insurance Company After Your Car Accident
One of the biggest hassles following a car accident is dealing with the insurance company. Not only do you have to speak with your own insurance company, but you will also likely have to talk to the insurance company for the other driver. Keep in mind that both insurance companies are looking to limit their liability in the accident, so not even your own insurance company is really on your side. As a result, you need to be very careful when you communicate with them, especially when speaking with the insurance company for the other driver. The best thing to do is to work with an experienced car accident lawyer and let them handle the communications.
Do Not Admit Fault
This may be obvious, but it is so important that it bears stating at the very outset – do not admit fault to any degree. Even if you think the accident is your fault or you think you may be partially to blame in some small way, admitting fault at the outset of your case can quickly limit your options. This can happen before you realize it due to the way the adjuster phrases their questions or when you fail to challenge an implication that the accident is your fault. In some cases, people may admit fault without even realizing it because they are upset and under stress. The less you say, the better. It is okay to simply say that you don’t believe the accident was your fault or that you simply do not know.
Do Not Speculate About What Happened
The adjuster will likely ask you what happened in the accident. You should limit your comments to details such as the date, time, and location of the accident and perhaps only those details that you are absolutely sure of. Again, it is okay to say that you do not know what happened or cannot recall. People jeopardize their claims by speculating about the details of their accident – what they think they saw or heard or remember. Not only can your speculations be used against you, but it can also create factual issues with your case. A good rule of thumb is that if your answer starts with “I think” do not finish the sentence. It’s better to say that you are uncertain and therefore unable to answer the question.
Do Not Discuss Your Injuries or Your Prognosis
The insurance company will also want to know if you are injured. You should limit your answer to this question to either you are under the care of your physician or that you are waiting for a medical exam (assuming that you are). You especially do not want to discuss anything like the extent of your injuries or how long it will take to recover. Your injuries may be more serious than initially thought, complications may arise, or recovery may be more difficult than anticipated. Any statement you make now could later be used against you by the insurance company in an attempt to limit how much they will pay on your claim.
Do Not Agree to Give a Recorded Statement
The other driver’s insurance may attempt to get a recorded statement from you. Do not say “yes” to this request. Politely and respectfully decline. If they are pushy, simply tell them that you would like to discuss your options with a lawyer before you give a recorded statement to anyone.
Do Not Agree to an Early Settlement
You may be surprised at how quickly the insurance company offers to settle your claim. This is typically done in an attempt to pay as little as possible on your claim. Unfortunately, these offers are made very soon after the accident, before you even know the full extent of your injuries and other losses or how long it will take to recover. Unfortunately, agreeing to accept their offer, even verbally, could jeopardize your ability to receive additional compensation if you later learn that your injuries are more serious than you thought or you encounter other challenges. At a minimum, you should discuss your offer with a car accident lawyer – they will at least be able to tell you whether or not the offer is fair.
Call Car Accident Lawyer Tom Pyles and Let Him Handle the Insurance Companies
At the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles, we have over 30 years of experience in helping car accident victims navigate the insurance claim process to get fair compensation for their injuries. Contact us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.