If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you likely have concerns about how to pay for your medical bills, repairs to your vehicle, or replacement of a totaled vehicle, as well as covering lost wages and other losses.
After a collision, you may start to get calls from insurance company representatives right away, and you might feel pressured to make a statement or accept a settlement offer to resolve the situation. This is usually a mistake.
Before speaking to an insurance adjuster or reporting a collision, you should remember the following:
- Stay calm. Even if you are upset after an accident, remember not to take out your anger on the insurance representative who called you. By remaining calm and being polite, you can have a civil conversation that might earn you some goodwill with the person you’re speaking to.
- Remember to get their information. You will want to know precisely whom you’re speaking with and which company they represent. This information will be valuable, so get their name, position, phone number, and company name.
- Limit any personal information you provide. When you report a collision to your insurer, then generally the report the following information: a collision occurred, you were in the accident, there was property damage, you were hurt, the other driver gave you his or her insurance information. As far as personal information, only provide your name, address, and phone number. Beyond that, the representative does not need to know any other details about your life and finances.
- Do not discuss your injuries. The adjuster will likely ask you about the injuries you suffered, but it is not a good idea to talk about them on this call. If you leave out critical details or if you discover additional health issues later, not including them in your statements to the company may harm your claim later on.
- Decline to give a recorded statement. The insurance adjuster may ask you to make an official statement on the record, or they may ask to record your phone call. Do not give any recorded statements to the other driver’s insurance company, and do not give a recorded statement to your insurance company without first speaking to a lawyer. Recording a statement could become a permanent record of errors or omissions in your story that could come back to haunt you later on. Instead, politely refuse to record a statement and let an attorney handle the matter for you.
- Make sure you know what not to say. Use the advice in the next section to avoid saying anything that might be construed as an admission of fault on your part.
What Not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster
Perhaps as important as knowing what to say to an insurance adjuster is knowing what NOT to say. Remember the following tips when speaking to any insurance company representative:
- Do not make any statements immediately after the accident. Let the dust settle, make sure you are not confused or disoriented, and let things calm down before discussing the crash with anyone.
- Don’t be apologetic or admit fault. Don’t apologize to the other party out of politeness and don’t assume responsibility for the crash. Until you know all the facts and all of the contributing factors to the accident, it is too hard to definitively assign blame.
- Don’t say you aren’t hurt. Even if you don’t suffer immediately apparent injuries after the crash, you don’t know if other health problems will be diagnosed later. The symptoms of some serious injuries like internal injuries, whiplash, brain bleeding, and neck and back injuries are often detected in the days or weeks following a collision.
- Don’t settle or sign any papers. Don’t let insurance adjusters pressure you into a quick settlement or signing a liability release. It is a mistake to settle your case before you know the full extent of your injuries and have a full understanding of your legal rights.
Contact Our Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers for Help Now
Before speaking to any insurance representatives after a collision, it is a good idea to get help from an experienced car accident attorney. Your attorney can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and make sure that your interests are represented professionally and accurately.
If you’ve been in an accident in the Huntsville area, contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., Personal Injury Law Firm. You can schedule a free case review by calling us or by chatting with us live or filling out a contact form online.
Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.