When you get into a car accident, the insurance company can make the recovery process difficult for you.
The insurer will look for any number of ways to minimize or deny the compensation that you seek for your physical, emotional and financial harm.
For this reason, you need to know how to deal with the insurance company, especially when the insurer requests that you provide a recorded statement.
BE CAREFUL: WHAT YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU
When you talk with the insurance company, everything you say will be “on the record.” Keep this in mind when you interact with the insurer. If you give any statement, your words may come back to haunt you.
Insurance companies invest a lot of money into training their employees. They want their employees to be as friendly and as disarming as possible over the phone. They use these tactics in order to get accident victims to let their guard down.
An insurance company may try to contact you within a few days after you have been in a serious auto accident. You may still be in a vulnerable state.
When you are in that state, the insurance companies believe, you may talk freely and loosely about your accident. The more you talk, the more likely you could say something that could be used against you.
For this reason, you should say as little as possible when an insurance adjuster contacts you. Additionally, you should never editorialize or “riff” about your accident or your injuries. Do not give an opinion. Instead, you should stick to facts and give straightforward answers.
Even better, you should deal with the insurance company through an experienced car accident lawyer.
WHAT COMMON QUESTIONS WILL THE INSURANCE COMPANY ASK YOU?
When an insurance company contacts you, the interview may go in many different directions. However, questions that insurers commonly pose to car accident victims are:
- Where did the crash occur?
- In what direction was your vehicle traveling?
- Can you describe the weather conditions and general road conditions?
- In your view, how did the crash happen?
- Can you describe everything you saw, heard or otherwise observed?
- Were you in any way at-fault for the crash?
- Could you have done anything to prevent the accident?
- Were you injured?
- When did you notice your injuries?
- Can you describe your injuries?
- Can you talk about any pain that you experienced?
The insurance company can – and will – use your answers to these questions to lower the settlement amount it offers to you. The insurer could even use your answers to support its refusal to offer any settlement amount.
Out of an abundance of caution, you should simply refer the insurer to your lawyer.
NEVER SIGN OR APPROVE ANYTHING WITHOUT FIRST SPEAKING TO A LAWYER
After speaking to an insurance company representative, you may be asked to sign a document that gives the insurer access to your medical records.
Many auto accident victims believe they have nothing to hide. They may also think that the insurance company has a right to access these records. So, they simply agree to this request. This is a big mistake.
In reality, insurance adjusters can examine only medical records that are reasonably related to your accident. The insurer cannot comb through all of your records without your permission.
For this reason, you should never give the insurance company access to your personal information when you are not legally required to do so.
If you do, then you simply let the insurer dig through your records and look for an excuse to deny or minimize your claim.
Please refrain from signing anything or giving any documents or records to the insurance company without first consulting with your lawyer.
Of course, medical record requests are not the only thing that you should avoid signing without first consulting with a lawyer.
In some cases, insurance companies will offer car accident victims a quick settlement offer. However, the offer may fail to fully compensate you for your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and other damages.
You should wait to sign a release and accept a settlement offer until after your lawyer has investigated your case, consulted with experts and arrived at a proper amount that should be sought on your behalf.
LEARN MORE ABOUT TAKING ON THE INSURANCE COMPANY
Do you want to know what the insurance company is not telling you? If so, you should order a copy of David E. Gordon’s free book on insurance industry secrets.
The book is based on the insights that David has gained during more than three decades as an attorney, including many years in which he worked on behalf of insurance companies.
WERE YOU INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
The experienced legal team at the Law Office of David E. Gordon is ready to help you to seek just compensation after a car accident. Do not wait to contact our Memphis office and learn more about what we can do for you.
Our initial consultations are always free. We will charge no costs or fees unless we recover compensation for you.