What Should You Not Say to Your Insurance Company After an Accident?
After a car accident, the first question most people ask themselves is, “What will my insurance say?” Dealing with insurance companies is an inevitability today. From auto accidents to healthcare, most people have some form of insurance to cover them in emergencies. Ideally, insurance is there to help us when we need it the most. Unfortunately, insurance companies often prefer to protect themselves over their customers. You must be extremely careful when speaking to an insurance company after an accident because your words could be used against you later.
There are a few critical things you should avoid saying when you talk to your insurance company after a car accident. First, you should avoid making statements that could be construed as admissions of guilt or fault. You must also be careful not to downplay the severity of your injuries. Generally, it is best to only speak to your insurance company once you have retained a lawyer to help guide you in what to say. Otherwise, you might say something you think is helpful, but the insurance company might twist your words to reduce your compensation.
If you were recently involved in a car accident, you might have already begun discussions with your insurance company. Before continuing, speak with our Hamburg, NY car accident attorneys about your case. Our team can help you communicate with your insurance company in the most advantageous way possible. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to get started with a free legal consultation.
How to Talk About Fault with Your Insurance Company After an Accident
When speaking to your insurance company after an accident, it is easy to say things that you believe are innocent or innocuous. However, insurance companies are carefully listening for any statements they could use to reduce or deny your claims. It is crucial that you speak with an attorney immediately after an accident to prepare to speak with insurance companies.
Insurance companies love using simple statements as deeper evidence of fault or wrongdoing. For example, many drivers say things like “I can’t believe I hit that car,” or, “My bad,” in the heat of the moment. They are frightened and panicked when they speak to insurance companies, making it very easy to slip up and say something they could see as an admission of fault.
Depending on the laws of your state, your insurance may or may not be closely examining fault. In no-fault states, drivers typically file a claim with their own insurance and may receive a payout regardless of who is responsible for the accident. In fault-based states, you may end up filing your claim with the other driver’s insurance company. There, you must demonstrate that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Any evidence suggesting you were at fault will be used against you by the insurance company.
If you have not contacted the necessary insurance companies about your car accident yet, you should speak with a Patchogue car accident lawyer before you make that call. Our Queens car accident lawyers can help you prepare to file your claim and deal with the insurance companies.
What to Avoid When Discussing Your Injuries with Your Insurance Company
When talking to an insurance company, the topic of your injuries and damages will inevitably come up. Trying to make your injuries seem more severe could get you in trouble for fraud. You must describe your injuries and damages as accurately as possible so you get the compensation you need. However, people often tend to downplay their injuries without realizing they are working against their own best interests.
When discussing your injuries, always include every detail of the injury. If you broke your leg, then explain that your leg is broken, along with details about the location of the break and its severity. Do not simply say your leg is hurt – be specific. A “hurt” leg might be worth nothing to an insurance company, but a broken leg deserves compensation.
While it seems strange, never tell your insurance company that you are “okay.” You were just in a car accident and are probably not okay at all. When asked if they are okay, people often say things like “Oh, I’m fine,” or, “It’s not that bad,” even when they are anything but fine. Make sure you tell the insurance company that you are not okay, that you are indeed injured, and that you have incurred medical bills.
Our Bronx car accident attorneys can help you gather evidence and information from your medical records to support your injury claims when you speak with the insurance company.
Questions About Your Accident You Should Avoid Answering Without an Attorney
Many questions are best avoided until you have had a chance to consult with a car accident injury attorney about your case. Car accident cases can be complicated, and insurance companies are known for taking advantage of your vulnerability to avoid paying compensation. When asked certain questions, it may be a good idea to avoid answering until after you have spoken with a lawyer.
You should avoid providing information about other people, like witnesses, treating physicians, or people in your personal life. Sometimes, insurance companies will reach out to these people and ask questions about your case. If their stories conflict with your own, the insurance company may try to reduce or deny your claims. Waiting until after you have spoken with an attorney can help you better navigate allegedly “conflicting” stories.
Insurance companies also like to ask people to give recorded statements. They might tell you that the statements are simply for their records, but there is usually more to it than that. Recorded statements are not for your benefit but for the insurance company’s benefit. They will comb through recorded statements looking for inconsistencies they can use to deny your claim. Wait until your lawyer is present to consider a recorded statement or deposition.
Do not accept a settlement the first time it is offered. In most cases, insurance companies will offer a quick settlement option hoping that you accept it without question. Like in any negotiation process, the first offer is likely the worst option. Our car accident attorneys can help you negotiate for a better settlement.
Insurance companies also like to take advantage of people who are not represented by attorneys. They know you are more vulnerable because you do not have a legal professional fighting on your behalf. If asked about legal representation before you have a lawyer, simply say you are in the process of obtaining representation. Do not hesitate to refuse to answer questions without a lawyer. Our Staten Island car accident lawyers will prepare you to deal with insurance companies to help get the largest payout possible.
Call Our Car Accident Attorneys for Help
If you have recently been in a car accident and are now dealing with a complex insurance claim, contact our Brooklyn car accident attorneys for help. Contact The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to schedule a free legal consultation.