What NOT to Say to an Insurance Agent after an Accident
After a car accident, one of the first steps you should take is calling your insurance company. Your policy will likely cover some of the expenses associated with the accident, including repair work and medical costs. As with a police report, however, what you say during interactions may be recorded. If your words are taken out of context or you speak too soon, you may not acquire the funds you deserve after an accident. The best thing to do is contact a seasoned car accident attorney as soon as possible for guidance in navigating this situation. Here’s what you should NOT say to your insurance agent after an accident:
• Don’t say anything in the immediate aftermath. While you’ll need to contact your insurance company soon after an auto accident, you don’t have to call them immediately. Accidents take an emotional and a physical toll on individuals involved. Give yourself time to seek medical care, and think about things before reaching for the phone.
Consider looking at your insurance policy ahead of time and familiarizing yourself with the timeframe you have to call the company after a car accident. You may want to take a few days to gather your thoughts before making initial contact.
• Don’t apologize, admit fault, or detail your injuries/lack thereof. Never tell an insurance agent you aren’t injured or anything about the injuries you do have. Never admit fault or apologize for the accident. You may believe you have a clear picture of an incident, but injuries may take time to manifest, and investigations often bring unexpected factors to light. You aren’t deceiving your insurer by saying “I’ll have to get back to you.”
• Don’t offer your opinion. Your opinion will almost never help a future case, but it could hurt it. Only provide the company with the facts you have: who, what, when, and where.
• Don’t agree to a settlement. Your insurance company will try to settle your claim as quickly and for as little compensation as possible. Until an auto accident attorney has reviewed your settlement, avoid agreeing to any offer.
• Don’t offer contact information for personal contacts/references. An insurance company may try to call the people you provide information for. You aren’t required to provide contact information for friends, family, or healthcare practitioners.
• Don’t tell an adjustor you don’t have a lawyer. Sometimes knowing you have an accident attorney on call will encourage an adjustor to use more care during the claims process. Knowing you don’t have an attorney may entice an adjustor to take advantage of you.
In addition to these common no-no’s, there are some other “red flag” words you may want to avoid saying to an insurance adjustor. These can affect the way your claim is handled, and may result in having to pay for the full cost of damages out of pocket:
• “Sorry.” An apology under any circumstance may be misconstrued.
• “Custom.” If you describe your vehicle as “customized,” your insurer may start looking for loopholes in your policy. Some customizations may not be covered by insurance.
• “Ride-share.” Unless you know your policy specifically covers ride-sharing, using your vehicle for unintended purposes may void the agreement.
• “Whiplash.” Unless a doctor has diagnosed you with whiplash, this word is often a red flag for bogus claims in the insurance world. A medical report is typically the only injury-information you need to provide to an insurer.
You may not know exactly what to say to your insurer after an accident, and that’s okay. Hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible may help. Your attorney can speak with insurers on your behalf, advise you on what to say about your claim, and prevent unhelpful information from being used against you. For more information about car accidents and legal representation, contact The Benton Law Firm at any time.