Insurance will play a significant role in the aftermath of a car accident. What you say to insurers could have a major impact on a claim settlement offer. It could also impact your success in an eventual personal injury lawsuit.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss some basic tips for what to do and what not to do/say after a car accident.
Covering The Basics
Most of these tips are obvious, but they are worth repeating. Immediately after a crash, you should:
- Determine if you have been injured (and how much)
- Check the injury status of your passengers
- If not badly injured, get out of the vehicle and check on the occupants in the other car
- Get everyone out of the road and to a safe location, shielded from traffic
- Call the police to report the accident
- Exchange names, insurance information and contact information with the other driver
- Take pictures of the accident scene on your phone, including damage to the vehicles
- Get a copy of the accident report from the police officer
- Contact your own insurance company only to let them know that the accident occurred
If you talk to the other driver, it is best to keep your own comments minimal – especially when it comes to discussing the cause of the crash or who may have been at fault.
Talking To Insurers – Be Careful
You may be a policyholder, but your insurance company is primarily looking out for its own interests. Insurers make money by limiting or rejecting claims, so an adjuster will be trying to settle your claim for the lowest amount possible (if it cannot be rejected). Shortly after the crash, your insurance company and the other driver’s company may reach out to you.
Here are some important tips when talking to these parties:
- Do not admit fault for the crash or even imply that you may have been at fault. That could be an excuse to limit or reject your claim
- Do not agree to give an official statement or sign paperwork before you’ve had a chance to speak to an attorney.
- Regardless of what the other driver’s insurer might say, you are usually not obligated to communicate with a company that doesn’t insure you. It is typically best to avoid talking to them at all.
- Do not say that you are not injured unless you are 100 percent sure that’s true. Some injuries don’t manifest right away, and making a statement like that could limit your claim amount or make it harder to pursue a personal injury suit.
- Contact an attorney
Insurance companies have attorneys working for them, and you should have one, too. To learn more about your rights and options, contact our firm to arrange a free initial consultation.