I just got in a car accident and the insurance company is calling me. Should I talk to them?
In my many years of practice as a personal injury attorney, I have heard some common scenarios play out in the days following my clients’ accidents. The day or two after the car accident, an insurance adjuster representing the person who caused the accident will call “to check on you and make sure you are okay.” This adjuster will almost always sound genuinely concerned for my client’s well-being and will try to gain my client’s friendship and trust. Unfortunately, this adjuster has a motive that is 100% adverse to my client’s motive. While my client is genuinely concerned about getting her car repaired, finding the right medical doctor, getting a rental car, and figuring out what to do about the time she missed, or will miss, from work, the insurance adjuster is concerned about limiting the insurance company’s exposure and cost for the claim. Because of these completely opposing goals, the adjuster who feigns friendship and concern is almost always keeping notes about everything you say and do that could potentially reduce the insurance company’s responsibility to pay for your injuries and damages.
Following a car accident, the insurance company will almost always ask you for a recorded statement. The adjuster will tell you that this is a routine way for them to get your version of the events leading up to the auto accident and how the car accident happened. According to the adjusters, this will make it easier for them to open your claim and pay for your damages. While this may be part of the reason for the statement, the insurance company will often use the recorded statement to try and poke holes in your story or get you to admit that you share some of the responsibility for the accident. They will often ask questions that harm you no matter what your response. (For example, you will often be asked if you saw the other vehicle before it struck you. If you answer yes, they will say then you should have taken actions to get out of their way. If you answer no, then they will say that you must not have been attentive and probably could have avoided the accident if you were paying attention.)
The insurance adjuster will often use similar strategies when discussing your injuries from the car accident. They will ask questions calculated to get you to admit that you were not seriously hurt, or that your prior medical issues probably played a part in your injuries. They will often ask specific questions about your medical care and treatment that only your doctor would know the answer to, and then try and deny payment for your medical bills later based on your statements.
In summary, if you are talking to an insurance adjuster after your car accident, but very careful. Always remember that the insurance adjuster has a different goal for your car accident than you do. While you want to take your time and make sure you completely heal from your injuries, the insurance adjuster wants the claim settled as quickly and cheaply as possible. If you agree to a recorded statement, it’s important to remember that you are doing it as a favor to the insurance company. You don’t have to answer any questions that you are uncomfortable with and you can end the call at any time. If you feel like you are getting asked the same question 7 different ways to try and get you to admit something, just tell the insurance company that you have already answered the question and you want to move on.
The best way to deal with communications with the insurance company is to hire a personal injury attorney. A good attorney will communicate with the insurance adjuster for you and make sure that any correspondence directly with the adjuster is done with the attorney present. During recorded statements and throughout your claim, your attorney can help you know what questions will benefit you and what questions might have a negative impact on your claim. Having good counsel throughout the process will provide peace of mind and give you reassurance that your interests will be represented. Always remember that the insurance adjuster has years of experience with getting claims closed fast and cheap. They know the right things to say and the right questions to ask. It is only fair that you have a representative for your interests who also has experience and knows what to say and what questions to ask. To schedule a consultation today, visit here.