Accidents can cause physical injuries and financial losses. Drivers usually need money to pay their medical bills and fix their vehicles. Dealing with insurance companies is the first step in that process.
This post will help you know what not to say to an insurance company after an accident. Although this post focuses on how to talk to an insurance company, please note that the best advice for talking to an insurance company is not to do it at all. Most people don’t see a simple conversation as a big deal. But saying the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster could spell disaster. Your own words could be used to deny your claim or reduce your recovery. So, the best thing to do is to let an attorney talk to the insurance company for you. But if you must talk to an insurance company, here are some things you should keep in mind.
The Role of the Insurance Company After An Accident
Paying your insurance premiums allows you to file claims against your own policy for losses. However, most policies also let other people file claims against you for damages you caused.
The second part is key. Insurance and fault usually go hand-in-hand. So, if another driver caused the accident, their policy will pay. But it you were at fault, your insurance policy will pay the other driver.
This rule might seem clear cut. Sometimes, it’s fairly easy to determine fault. But in other cases, the cause of the accident may not be clear. In these cases, insurance companies (and their adjusters and investigators) put a lot of time and effort into figuring out who is at fault.
The Insurance Company’s Goals versus Your Goals
While the insurance company wants to determine who’s at fault, this is not the company’s ultimate goal. The insurance company’s main goal is to avoid paying you money.
This goal means that you must be extremely careful when talking to an insurance company. The insurance company can and will use your words against you. And unlike police officers, the insurance company doesn’t have to warn you about what you say. In fact, they have no obligation to be nice or fair to you. Their only obligation is to avoid paying money if they can. If your words can help them do that, they will use them.
Consider this example: Assume that a driver rams into another car on purpose. While it probably seems like this driver is clearly at fault, in such cases, insurance companies have argued that their policies shouldn’t pay for intentional acts because they aren’t “accidents.” Worse, some courts have agreed with these arguments. This example shows how far insurance companies will go to deny a claim. It also proves that drivers shouldn’t give an insurance company any help to do something they already want to do.
How Insurance Companies Use Your Words Against You
Another important thing to know is how insurance companies use your words against you.
After an accident, multiple insurance companies can be involved: yours, the other driver’s, and perhaps a third party’s (like Uber or Lyft). As stated above, the other driver’s insurer can use your statement to deny your claim. But insurance companies often share information. This means that your statement could be given to other insurers – including yours. So, your own insurance company might use your statement against you.
Because one bad statement can go to multiple companies, it’s important to be careful about any and all statements.
What to Not Say to an Insurance Company After an Accident
You do not have to speak to another driver’s insurer. It’s best to let an attorney handle this conversation. But if you do call, here are some examples of what not to say to an insurance company after an accident.
- Don’t admit fault.
The worst thing you can say is that you caused the accident. Even if you think so, let an attorney help you decide what to say and how to say it.
- Don’t give an official or recorded statement without an attorney.
Insurance companies can use these statements in court. Never provide one of these statements without legal counsel.
- Don’t talk to anyone immediately after an accident.
After an accident, your brain may be “foggy.” Wait a few days to ensure that your statement will be made with a clear head.
- Don’t tell them that you are uninjured.
Some injuries – like broken legs – are obvious. Others reveal themselves over time. Do not tell an insurance company that you are unharmed. Don’t describe your injuries in detail.
Your description will help the insurance company argue that your injuries are not that serious. You can merely tell them you were injured and leave it at that.
- Don’t answer more than you are asked.
If an insurance adjuster asks, “What color was the light?” simply say, “red.” Even an innocent statement like, “I know the light was red because the song on the radio at the time…” could hurt your claim.
- Don’t sign a medical release.
Lawyers can limit how much of your medical information is disclosed. But signing a release gives the insurance company broad access to your entire medical history.
- Don’t accept a settlement without an attorney’s help.
Insurance companies usually offer low-end settlements that do not reflect the full scope of your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
More Questions About What to Say to An Insurance Company After an Accident?
Dealing with insurance companies is often challenging, and these challenges are worse when you are recovering from a serious accident. Hopefully, this post has helped you learn what not to say to an insurance company after an accident. If you have more questions or need help dealing with an insurance company after an accident, contact Collins Law, LLC. Click here or call 205.588.1411 to schedule a free consultation.