When you are hurt in a car accident caused by another driver, you have to be careful what you say to anyone—including your own insurance company. Even if you plan to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, you most likely will need to talk to your own adjuster to report the crash.
In addition, you might file a claim for your car repairs if you have collision coverage or an uninsured motorist claim if you purchased this insurance and the other driver’s policy limit is insufficient to compensate you. You want to avoid making certain statements to your insurance adjuster that could inadvertently hurt your claim down the road.
Don’t Say These 6 Things When Talking to Your Insurance Adjuster
You are under no obligation to notify your insurance company right away after the accident. In fact, you probably want to wait a day or two until the shock wears off and you are thinking clearly to contact them. When you do speak to an adjuster, you want to be smart and strategic in what you say while being truthful. This means not making a statement that gives the adjuster a reason to deny or reduce your compensation if you decide to make a claim. Avoid telling the adjuster these things:
- “It was my fault.” You never want to admit fault in causing the accident. The best approach is to describe the crash in a straight forward manner and avoid inserting your personal opinions into the conversation.
- “I’m not injured.” You do not want to tell the adjuster that you were not injured or were not hurt too badly. The reality is that it is too soon for you to know this. You have not recuperated from your injuries or received all the medical treatment you may need right after the crash. If you make such a statement, the adjuster may later argue that you really were not that injured by the crash.
- “I will give you my official statement.” You do not want to agree to give a recorded statement or other official statement without first consulting with an attorney. You do not have a duty to give this type of statement, and it will rarely help your case to give one.
- “I think” statements. If you do not know the answer to a question, it is safest to just say that you don’t know the answer. This is better than trying to guess at an answer and giving a wrong one that may harm the value of your claim or reduce your credibility as a witness.
- “I accept.” You do not want to accept the insurance company’s early settlement offer—or any settlement offer down the road—without the advice of an attorney who understands the true value of your claim. Otherwise, you may be agreeing to settle your claim for far less than you may deserve.
- “I will sign.” You also do not want to sign any legal documents, such as a medical release or general release settling your claim, without having an attorney first review the document. You could be giving up important rights, such as the right to pursue claims under other coverages you have.
Unless your accident was a minor one with no injuries and minor damage to your vehicle, you should consult with an attorney before contacting your insurance company. If you need to make a claim, your attorney may want to contact your insurance adjuster for you or take over the communications soon after you report your claim so that you don’t make a mistake.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, call our experienced legal team today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.