After an accident, chances are good your head is spinning, you’re not sure what to do first, but you think you should probably contact your insurance company to let someone know what happened.
Although you are doing the right thing, you may not realize that your insurer is not looking out for your best interests at this time.
Report any covered accidents to your insurance company within a reasonable time. However, the information you provide could make or break your chances of receiving a fair settlement for your injuries and other financial losses.
So, what should you NOT say to your insurance company after an accident?
Turns out, you really should not share a lot of information… at least not at the start and not without having a dedicated San Jose serious injury lawyer by your side to protect your legal rights. Let’s take a deeper look at what you should and shouldn’t do after an accident and how you can best maximize the financial compensation you may receive.
Why Communication With Your Insurance Company is Crucial
The first thing you must realize after suffering any sort of accident-related injury is that insurance companies are not in business to compensate you for your losses. Insurance providers are in business to make money, and the best way to do this is to accept policy premiums every month and pay as little as possible on accident claims.
This means the insurance company will use any means possible to reduce or deny your accident claim to keep more money in its coffers and improve its bottom line. If there is any way to shift the blame to you for your injuries, the insurer will do it. You certainly don’t want to provide any information that could impair your ability to claim damages for your accident.
Let’s Start With What You Should Say to Your Insurance Company Following an Accident
Most insurance policies require the insured to report any covered loss within a reasonable amount of time. This notification allows the insurer to perform an investigation and determine if the claim is covered and how much to offer to settle the claim.
Thus, contact your insurance company soon after you are injured in an accident, regardless of who you might hold responsible for the accident.
Here is what you should tell your own insurance company following a crash or fall incident:
- The date you were injured
- What type of accident caused the injury - for example, a car accident, motorcycle crash, slip and fall, or other situation
- Who was involved - the names and contact information of the parties who played a part in the situation
- Where the accident occurred
Do not provide more than the basic facts surrounding your accident at the start. If you have any questions about your first communication with your insurance company, reach out to a personal injury lawyer near you for advice.
What Should You Not Say to Your Insurance Company After an Accident? What About Other Insurance Companies?
After providing the basic facts about your accident scenario, it’s wise to refrain from speaking with any insurance adjusters from your own company or the insurer that covers other parties involved in your accident. Again, these companies do not work for you, and they don’t want to pay for your losses.
Instead, insurance adjusters will employ subtle tactics and try to use your words and admissions to reduce or eliminate the amount of money they end up paying for your legal damages.
For example, an adjuster may ask for a recorded statement to memorialize your version of the incident. If you say anything that suggests you were at fault or not hurt as badly as you are, those words will come back to haunt you.
Common Statements Made by Injured People Following an Accident That Can Harm Their Claim
Most people want to be helpful and courteous to others. So when an adjuster calls you and asks how you are doing, you may reply, “Fine,” without even thinking about it. Simple statements like this can cause problems down the road as you try to recover money for your losses.
Here’s a list of things you should never discuss with an insurance representative right after an accident:
- What caused the accident
- Who may be at fault for the collision or fall
- Whether you used any medications or substances that may have affected your abilities
- The extent of your injuries, for example, don’t guess at how serious they are or how long you may need treatment
- Any unnecessary details beyond basic facts
- Contact information for your family and friends
Other Things You Should Not Do Following an Injury-Causing Accident
Don’t tell the insurance company you are unrepresented
If you have not yet hired a lawyer, don’t tell the adjuster, or they may try to take advantage of you with a quick settlement offer to resolve the case before you find qualified representation.
Better yet, consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney before you speak to any insurance representatives to ensure you know how much information to share and how to protect yourself.
Don’t accept a settlement offer without legal advice
Before you consider an insurance settlement offer, meet with a skilled injury attorney to review it with you and explain the terms and obligations involved. Once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot recover any further compensation in the future.
A knowledgeable injury attorney can advise you about the total amount of money you should receive for all of your losses, not just current medical expenses.
Don’t forget to report your accident to law enforcement agencies
In most states, people involved in vehicle accidents must report the situation to local or state police if they involve personal injuries. Failure to report your incident could result in other legal consequences on top of everything else you are dealing with following your accident.
Don’t ignore your doctor’s recommendations or neglect your own medical treatment
It’s crucial to seek the medical care you need to recover and not try to tough it out on your own. If an insurance company learns you did not receive medical care following your accident or you did not follow through with recommended therapy or other treatment, it will assume your injuries are not serious or possibly not even related to the accident in question.
Don’t give the insurer any reason to deny or reduce your claim, get the care you need and deserve.
Don’t try to handle your injury claim on your own
Insurance claims and civil injury lawsuits are complicated and stress-inducing. The last thing you need to worry about while you are dealing with injuries, mounting bills, and time off work is aggressive adjusters or opposing counsel trying to coerce you into taking a quick settlement or denying your claim altogether.
When you partner with a compassionate and tenacious personal injury legal team, you can rest easy knowing they are working for you and protecting your right to receive the maximum benefit possible.
Plus, if you have a contingency fee agreement, you won’t pay anything upfront because legal fees are only paid after you receive a successful settlement or verdict in your favor. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain when you work with a well-respected law firm that understands what you are facing.
What Can a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer Do For You?
Besides offering peace of mind, a qualified injury attorney can build a strong case by gathering and presenting evidence such as:
- Police reports
- Crash reconstruction expert evidence and testimony
- Eyewitness testimony
- Testimony or reports from outside consultants, such as healthcare providers or occupational therapists
- Photos of your injuries and vehicle’s damage, if appropriate
- A summary of your medical records and bills
- Video camera footage, if appropriate
When you work with a talented personal injury lawyer, they should:
- Thoroughly investigate your claim and gather important evidence
- Calculate your losses, including your future expected costs
- Determine who was at-fault and liable for your losses
- Review your insurance policy and the terms of other related policies
- Build a solid case to establish someone else’s negligence
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters and opposing counsel
- File your insurance claim
- File a civil injury lawsuit, if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful
What to expect during a free consultation
At no obligation, you should receive answers to your most pressing questions, such as:
- What types of damages can I recover?
- How much is my claim worth?
- How long will it take to receive compensation?
- What can I expect from the claims and legal processes?
- How much will it cost to work with your law firm?
Remember, the only people looking out for your best interests are you and your dedicated injury attorney. To find the best personal injury lawyer for your unique circumstances, consider the firm’s case results and client testimonials before deciding who to trust with your future.
Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You Understand What You Should Not Say to the Insurance Companies
After a serious accident, your future is too important to risk saying something you shouldn’t to an insurance company. Trust the team at Golden State Lawyers, APC, to protect you during insurance claim negotiations and beyond. Call us at (408) 279-4222 or contact us online for a free consultation today.