The less said, the better. Sure it’s a cliché. But when it comes to dealing with insurance companies after an accident, it is also good advice. This is because saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, can keep you from getting the help you need to cover medical expenses, car repairs and other costs. Read on to learn about the things you should never say to an insurance company after an accident.
Refrain from saying anything immediately after the accident
Your first priority after any accident is to seek medical attention. This is important even if you do not think you were seriously hurt. First, it is critical for your wellbeing. Secondly, it provides valuable documentation of any injuries, treatment and associated costs.
That being stated, you do need to report the accident to your insurance company. When you do, here’s something to keep in mind. The insurance company is primarily concerned about its bottom line. Therefore, it wants to get the case off the books as soon as possible while minimizing its costs. It will use any missteps you make to its advantage.
Whatever you do, do not apologize or admit fault
In your initial conversation with the insurance company, stick to the facts. Do not apologize, admit fault or speculate about what happened. Even a statement that could be perceived as an admission could potentially hinder your claim.
Let the insurance professionals determine who was at fault, and why. Even if you are to blame, you may not be entirely at fault. The other driver could have done something wrong, too.
Avoid making any definitive statements about your medical condition
Unless you know something for sure, avoid making any absolute statements. This is especially important when discussing any injuries. In some cases, you may not know that you are hurt at first. But you may start experiencing symptoms a few days or even a few weeks after the accident. Telling the insurance company you feel fine in the interim and changing your statement later damages your credibility and your claim.
For similar reasons, it is also advisable to refrain from signing any medical release form from the insurance company until you have consulted an attorney.
Do not make any official statements until you have gotten legal advice
The insurance company will likely ask for an “official,” or recorded statement. However, you can refuse. In fact, it is better not to give one until you have spoken with a qualified personal injury lawyer. If you are aware of your legal rights and obligations prior to making an official statement, you will be less likely to say something that could void or limit your claim.
Do not speculate
If you do not know the answer to an insurance agent/adjuster’s question, you have the right to say so. Do not speculate or give your opinion. Avoid responding with “maybe,” or “I think…” or “I guess not.” This is critical when answering specific questions about your driving at the time of the accident. This is because any statement in which you seem to be vacillating can easily be used against you.
Avoid using phrases such as I agree, or I accept
This is especially important when it comes to a potential settlement. Remember, the insurance company wants to close the case and offer the least possible compensation for your injuries. Therefore, indicating that you may accept an offer before you have spoken with a personal injury attorney is not necessarily in your best interest.
As experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyers, we always put our clients first. We also deal with insurance companies and their lawyers on a regular basis. That means we know how they work. So if the insurance company makes a fair settlement offer, we’ll let you know. If it’s not fair, we’ll let you know that, too. If it’s in your best interest to go to trial, we’ll fight for you through the entire process. If that sounds good to you, contact the Law Office of Parag L. Amin P.C., for a free case evaluation, today.