After a car accident, you’ll need to do a lot of things. You’ll need to contact the police. You’ll need to get medical care. And eventually, you’ll need to file an accident claim. That means you’ll need to deal with the other driver’s insurance company.
Insurance company representatives can be pleasant – even charming. Their friendliness might make you relax and let down your guard. But treating a conversation with an insurance adjuster like a chat with anyone else would be a big mistake. In fact, one of the most common – and costly – mistakes that people make after an accident is how they handle talking to the other driver’s insurance company.
What you say – or don’t say – when you talk to the insurance company can really hurt your personal injury case. To help you protect your rights, here are three things you should know about talking to the other driver’s insurance company.
#1 – You don’t have to talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
The first rule of talking to the other driver’s insurance company is that you don’t have to talk to them. There is no law in Alabama – or any state – that says that an accident survivor has to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Other rules apply to your obligations toward your own insurer, but when it comes to the other driver’s car insurance company, they can’t force you to say anything.
However, at some point, you’ll need to get the ball rolling on your insurance claim. To do that, you may have to talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier but we only recommend doing so after speaking with an attorney.
#2 – The insurance company is not your friend.
Don’t let an insurance adjuster’s kindness fool you. The insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies make money by selling policies and collecting premiums. They lose money when they pay accident claims. So insurance companies do everything they can to pay injured people the bare minimum or completely deny their insurance claims – even where there is a serious injury.
The negligent driver’s insurance company will probably call you. They may even ask you to give a recorded statement. But no matter how nice the insurance representative seems, remember, they are not calling because they care about you. They are fishing for information. Specifically, they are fishing for information that will help them deny your accident claim. They will use your recorded statement or written statement against you.
You might think that you know how to avoid saying things that will hurt your personal injury case, but insurance companies can be devious. They will take a simple statement and turn it into a major thing. For instance, while talking to the insurance adjuster, you say, “I’m so sorry about the accident.” The insurance company will use it to prove that the accident was actually your fault. If the insurance adjuster asks how you’re feeling and you say, “I’m fine,” that could be used as proof that your injuries aren’t that serious. These might seem like exaggerations but they are not. The insurance company will use anything they can find to deny your claim. Remember this during all communications with insurance company representatives.
#3 – Your attorney is your friend.
The auto insurance company is not your friend but your Alabama accident lawyer is. If you’ve never hired an attorney before, don’t feel bad about it! If you’re hit by a careless driver, you have legal rights. Hiring a lawyer to protect those rights is no different than hiring an accountant to protect your financial rights. Also, car insurance companies have lawyers. The major ones have hundreds of attorneys at their disposal.
Also, after a car accident, you’re not yourself. Your injuries – both physical and emotional – can change the way you process information and answer questions. The insurance company and its agents know this – in fact, they are depending on it. But your Birmingham accident attorney can protect you. A qualified legal representative will keep the insurance company from taking advantage of you while you heal.
Personal injury lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies. If you talk to the at-fault driver’s car insurance company, you’ll want to make sure you don’t say anything in a written or recorded statement that could hurt your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you make a statement that tells the truth and protects your legal rights.
Your accident lawyer can also help you avoid other missteps. Insurance companies usually offer “low-ball” settlement offers that don’t compensate you for all of your injuries. Injury lawyers know this and can help you negotiate.
Tips for talking to the other driver’s insurance company
Saying the wrong thing to the other driver’s insurance company can sabotage your accident claim. But there are ways to protect your rights.
Collect information at the scene. Gather information immediately after the accident (or as soon as you are safely able to do so). Take pictures of the accident and your injuries. Get the names of any witnesses. Having evidence that supports your version of the accident will make it harder for the insurance company to deny your claim.
Let your personal injury attorney handle it. As mentioned above, even a seemingly innocent mistake can damage your personal injury claim. So, when it comes to talking to the other driver’s insurance company, the best thing you can do is to let your accident lawyer do it for you.
Your Alabama accident lawyer knows what to do. Never give a statement, accept a settlement, or sign a release without talking to an attorney first.
Just don’t do it. The best tip for talking to the other driver’s insurance company is that you should never talk to a car insurance company after an accident without legal assistance. But if you must give them information to start your claim, keep it simple. Provide your name, address, date of the accident, and the other driver’s name – nothing more. Do not give long-winded answers or provide your opinion about what happened during the accident. Keep detailed notes of who you spoke to (get their name, direct line, and claim number) and when. Above all, never admit fault or talk about your injuries. If the adjuster asks about those topics, tell them to talk to your Alabama accident attorney.
Let us talk to the other driver’s insurance company
We’re here to help. Talking to a car insurance adjuster can be intimidating. Hopefully this article has provided helpful advice. If you are injured and have more questions about how to talk to an insurance company after an accident, call on Collins Law, LLC. Our firm can help with every step of your case from filing an insurance claim to going to trial. To learn how we can help, call 205-588-1411 or use our website’s online scheduling tool.