Being in a car accident practically guarantees two things: frustrations and insurance companies calling you to try to get more information. While there isn’t too much that can be done about the troubles that follow a crash, there are things you can do to prepare for insurance representative and adjuster inquiries. In fact, you should already be thinking about what to say to them and how because saying the wrong thing can jeopardize your otherwise valid pending personal injury claim against the other driver.
Why Insurance Companies Really Want to Hear From You
When you receive a call from an insurance company representative, you can expect them to be overly friendly about everything. They might even say you can trust them like you do your favorite neighbor or a close friend. Don’t be lulled into a sense of complacency, though.
The truth is that insurance companies want to hear you say things that put the liability for your damages on you. The more liable you are for your injuries, the less they have to provide you in coverage. Even if you live in a state with personal injury protection (PIP) insurance requirements, inadvertently admitting fault can wind up causing you to have to pay more for your damages out of pocket, especially when those damages exceed the coverage limit.
Don’t take the insurance company’s methods personally, though. After everything is said and done, they are a business trying to make a profit, not a friendly neighbor.
How Should You Talk with an Insurer After a Crash?
Ideally, you will not need to talk to an insurance company representative unprepared. You can speak with a car accident lawyer to start working on your claim as soon as you want, and they can give you insight into how to interact with insurance companies. They might even tell you to say nothing to an inquiring insurer other than to direct the call to their law firm.
However, you might not decide on a law firm to help you right away after a crash, and insurance companies act quickly. Do not be surprised if you get contacted for information within a few hours of your crash. If you want to talk to them, how should you do it?
What to do when you first speak with an insurer after a car accident:
- Insist the conversation goes unrecorded: Contrary to popular belief, you do not legally have to give a recorded statement to another party’s insurance company about your crash. In fact, you are not even required to give any statement at all to the other party’s insurance company. Therefore, the first thing you should do when you answer the phone to talk to an inquiring insurer is to tell them that you do not want the conversation recorded. This is a quick precaution that shields you in case you do say something incorrectly. Remember, the insurance representative is trained to make these calls, which can put them at an advantage over you.
- Be polite: Getting short-tempered with an insurance company representative is a fast way to add needless complications to your case. Remember that they are only trying to do their job and usually don’t mean anything personal about their inquiries.
- Ask for their identification: Ask the insurance company representative to identify themselves, including their name, the company employing them for the call, and their role with the company.
- Provide basic contact information: There are only a few things you should be openly shared with the caller, including your basic contact information. You can give them your name, address, and another telephone number they can use to contact you if you want. Refusing to give them this information only slows things down since they can get it from your insurer anyway.
- Write everything down: If you’re seated at a computer when the call comes through, open a word processing program and jot down as much as you can about your conversation. It could come in handy later if they try to mix up what you said.
What not to do when speaking with an insurance representative:
- Provide crash details: The insurance representative will certainly ask you about what happened during the crash and why. Do not tell them during this initial call. Such details should only be divulged after you have had a chance to discuss things with your lawyer.
- Discuss your injuries: The same “mums the word” policy also applies to your injuries. The insurer will be trying to listen for incongruencies in how you describe your injuries, so they can try to downplay or undervalue them. See a doctor and an attorney first before getting into these details. Additionally, often injuries are not fully known immediately after a crash but instead manifest later.
- Talk for too long: You might find yourself talking for minutes on end with the insurance adjuster if you aren’t careful. Once again, they try to keep you talking in hopes you end up saying too much. Be mindful of the time and end the conversation once you have shared basic contact information and you feel satisfied that you said what you should.
- Admit guilt: Never admit guilt or say that you are sorry to an insurance company representative. Even if you’re pretty sure it was your mistake that caused the crash, do not accept any liability now. You don’t know what other circumstances unfolded before the accident that could change your liability drastically. For example, the other driver might later admit that they were texting behind the wheel, spiking their own liability.
- Settle right away: You might feel tempted to get some money as soon as possible after your car accident. Don’t let haste cloud your judgment and cause you to accept a lowballed settlement. Work with a car accident attorney to get a fair picture of how much you are owed and allow them to handle any settlement negotiations.
Legal Support When Dealing with Insurers
Todd Miner Law in Orlando provides legal representation and counsel to Central Floridians who have been hit by negligent drivers. If you are worried about talking with an insurance company representative after being in a crash, call (407) 269-5877 to connect with the firm right away. Under Attorney Todd Miner’s guidance and years of legal experience, they can help you navigate your claim and protect your right to full compensation.