You have just been in an auto accident. You’re shaken and don’t know what to do next. After you have exchanged information with the other driver, gotten a police report, and received initial medical treatment, you may need to call your insurance company. This conversation can be very important. What you disclose may ultimately become a part of a potential lawsuit should the at-fault party fail to take responsibility. Consider these few tips before contacting your insurance company:
Don’t Admit Guilt
When talking to an insurance agent, do not admit or project fault. While you should offer adequate factual information of the accident, there is no need to add any opinion based statement which can come back to haunt you in the event of a lawsuit. Anything you say may be used as a basis for denying your claim.
Be Truthful in All Statements
Deceitful statements can be used against you in the event of a lawsuit, as well. If you’re unsure of what information is pertinent to disclose, it may be in your best interest to simply inform your insurance company that an accident has occurred and then contact a qualified DC personal injury lawyer. Additionally, if you lie, it can be considered insurance fraud; which could have criminal implications outside of any civil case.
Do Not Ask For Legal Advice
After an accident, you may have lots of questions regarding your legal rights. The insurance agent is not a lawyer. If you are considering a suit or have damages that you feel need to be compensated, it may be best to have them handled through a lawyer. Your insurance agent will likely be very little help in terms of legal advice and often defer answering any legal questions.
Do Not Discuss Injuries Immediately
Do not talk about your injuries. Right after an accident, it can be difficult to really know all the injuries suffered. You may have a condition that will not present itself until days or even weeks after the incident. This is another area where what you say can be used against your claim. Stating you are uninjured initially, but requesting injury damages later on my hurt your ability to receive the compensation you deserve.
Do Not Give Recorded Statements
Some insurance companies want to take a recorded statement. Do not do any recorded statements until you have legal representation. You cannot take back a statement at a later date. It may be wise to offer a written statement when all details are firmed up in place of any audio recording.
An accident is not always an open and shut case, especially right after it happens. It may be wise to have an experienced attorney on your side fighting for your rights. Keep in mind that not every accident is grounds for a lawsuit; however, allowing an attorney to review your case may be a positive first step towards the compensation you deserve. Contact your local counsel today.
Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into talking to an insurance company after an accident.