If you are involved in an auto accident, your first instinct is to assume that insurance will cover all the expenses you incur as a result. When you buy insurance, you deal with an agent. They are friendly – after all they are in sales – and you feel like they are looking out for you. That changes when you have a claim.
Insurance companies are often more motivated by protecting their bottom line than they are in protecting you. Having made a claim, now you are dealing with an adjuster, not your agent. Insurance adjusters are trained in how to find ways to limit payouts on claims or deny them altogether.
It is important to understand that your initial conversations with the insurance company are crucial to the success of your claim. If you say the wrong thing or you are pressured into accepting the first settlement offer, it can significantly impact your ability to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Tips for Contacting Your Insurance Company
Once law enforcement has been contacted and you have received any necessary medical care, it is important for you to contact your insurance company after an auto accident. You will need to be honest regarding the crash, but you should not volunteer details that are not requested. The information you should provide the insurance agent includes:
- The date, time and location of the accident
- Information regarding the law enforcement agency that responded to the scene of the crash
- The name and contact information for all drivers and vehicle passengers involved in the wreck
- Insurance information for the other driver(s)
If time allows, you should confer with your attorney prior to contacting your insurance agent. Your lawyer will likely want to be on the initial telephone call with your insurance agent, especially if the accident caused serious injuries or if there is a potential dispute regarding who caused the accident.
Tips for Talking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
The insurance agent for the other driver(s) will typically contact you within a few days after the accident occurred. It is important to understand that you are not required to provide a statement to the other driver’s insurance agent. In fact, it may be in your best interests to decline to answer any of their questions and simply provide them with your lawyer’s and/or your insurance agent’s contact information. Do not discuss fault, liability or the extent of your injuries, even if the agent pressures you on these topics. The agent may be attempting to lessen the value of your claim or to shift blame onto you for the accident.
Tips on Settlement Discussions
You may be facing medical bills, vehicle repair bills, and other significant expenses after an auto accident. Insurance agents are very aware of this fact and they will try to use it to their advantage by persuading you to settle as quickly as possible. Typically, the initial settlement offer made to the victim of a car crash is less than what the victim is entitled to receive – often significantly less. This is especially true if there are unknown or ongoing medical issues, time away from work, or other long-term needs.
Beware of Social Media Use after Accidents
We all enjoy posting things about our lives on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media websites. After a wreck, it is common for insurance adjusters to search your postings to find evidence they can use to deny or limit your claim for damages. You should avoid posting any details regarding the accident or the injuries you sustained. The best option is to take a break from social media until your claim has been resolved. You do not want pictures of you water skiing at the lake to be used against you in your claim for injuries to your leg caused by the car accident!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision, contact The Nice Law Firm for assistance in dealing with the insurance companies and protecting your right to compensation for your damages suffered.