When involved in a car collision, it is common to have concerns regarding how medical expenses, repairs to your vehicle (or replacement of your vehicle), and other costs such as lost wages should be covered. After a car accident, you may begin to receive calls from insurance adjusters immediately. You may feel pressured to take a settlement offer or make a statement on the spot, which is usually a mistake.
Talking to an experienced personal injury car accident attorney is a great way to discuss your rights and see what compensation may be available for your damages. Your attorney can help guide you to ensure that nothing stands in the way of having the most successful claim outcome possible. However, it is important that you alert your car insurance company of the accident.
In the event that another driver is held at fault for damages you have sustained, a third-party claim will need to be filed. When a third-party claim is filed, although you may seek advice from your insurance provider, you or your attorney will need to speak to the other party’s insurance provider.
Before you speak with an insurance agent, or when reporting your collision, you should keep the following points in mind:
In general, while you will need to communicate with your insurance provider, you should ask your provider or attorney whether it is advisable to communicate directly with the other party’s insurance agent.
Before speaking to an insurance adjuster, gather all relevant records pertaining to the crash, such as the police report, insurance policy numbers, medical records, etc., so that you will be able to provide the insurance agent with accurate information.
Stay even-tempered and calm. Although you may be worried, angry, concerned, or experiencing a flow of other emotions, remember to be as calm and polite to the insurance agent. You may be able to get some goodwill or assistance from them later. It is valuable to get their name, position, phone number, and company name.
When speaking to an insurance adjuster, limit the personal information you provide them to only the basics. For example, report who was involved in the accident, if you were hurt, if there was property damage, and if you received the other party’s insurance information. Do not provide further details about your circumstances or finances.
When speaking to an insurance agent about details surrounding the accident, do not give any specifics about your injuries. You should inform the agent whether or not you have been injured, but you should not go into detail regarding the extent of the injuries. This is in case you happen to forget, accidentally leave out any information, later find you have health issues or find out they were more severe than anticipated. Failing to list these on your original claim may harm your case in the future.
It is always best to decline to give a recorded statement. The insurance agent may ask to record your phone call or to make an official statement for the record. It is not wise to give a recorded statement, especially to the other party’s insurer. After the shock and frustration of an accident, when many thoughts and emotions may be chaotic, it is easy to communicate ineffectively.
You should never give a recorded statement to your or the other driver’s insurance company without speaking to a lawyer. Recorded statements may become a part of a permanent record, and if it contains any errors or omissions, they could harm you later on. Therefore, when asked, you should politely refuse the statement and allow an attorney to handle the matter for you. It is best to be advised on what to say and not to disclose when making a statement on record.
If you do not retain an attorney and it becomes necessary that you make a recorded statement, you should be brief and stick to only the facts.
What Not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster
While it is important to know what to say to an insurance agent, it may be even more important to know what not to say. Consider the following tips before speaking to any insurance adjuster:
Do not make any statements directly following your accident. Allow yourself some time to get collected and allow high emotions to settle. Ensure that you are not confused, disorientated, or heavily medicated when discussing the crash with anyone.
Never assume blame. Until you have all of the facts and contributing factors leading up to the accident, you should never apologize or admit fault out of politeness. Likewise, you should never assume fault for the crash, as often it is too tricky to assign blame definitively, and there be many factors contributing to the crash.
Do not say that you are not hurt or that you are fine, even if you feel okay. Even if you do not notice any severe injury following the accident, you do not know if you will experience health problems later on. In addition, some serious injuries may be internal and unnoticed, such as whiplash, brain bleeding, neck and back injury, and more, which may not be detected for several days following a collision.
Do not be pressured to settle or sign any documents quickly. Insurance agents may try to pressure you into a quick settlement or signing a release of liability, which is a mistake. You should know the full extent of your injuries and thorough knowledge of your legal rights before waiving them.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers for Help Now
After a car collision, it is advisable to speak to an experienced car accident personal injury attorney to discuss your case and explore options moving forward. Your attorney will be able to advocate for you and speak to insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you are represented adequately, effectively, and accurately.
If you have been in a car accident in the North Carolina area, contact Tatum & Atkinson, PLLC to receive a free case review by calling 800-LAW-0804 or by chatting with us or filling out our contact form here.