After a Car Accident – 8 Things NOT to Say to Your Insurance Company
If you have been in a car accident of any kind, you’ll likely need your insurance company to help your pay the bills related to injuries and car repair. If you want to maximize the amount you receive after an accident, read below the 8 things you shouldn’t say to your insurance company.
1 – Anything immediately after the accident
The insurance company is not your friend and shouldn’t be on your list of the first people to notify that you have been in an accident. Immediately after an accident you may be overwhelmed, scared, or even angry and it can influence what you remember and how you say it. If you are injured, go to the hospital. There is plenty of time to call your agent later-after you have read through the rest of this list.
2 – “In my opinion…” “I think…”
Don’t guess or estimate anything. Unless you were staring at the speedometer at the time of the accident (maybe you were and that is why you wrecked), you don’t really know at what speed you were traveling. Unless you measured the distance you were from that other car, you don’t really know-so don’t guess. What you say to the insurance adjuster could be used by against you by implying that you were traveling too fast or should have had enough time to stop. He/She will ask questions several times and in several ways wanting you to make an estimation. Don’t. Just supply the facts that you know.
3 – “It was my fault.” “I’m sorry.”
Don’t say you did something you shouldn’t have or apologize for anything. Even if you were at fault, the other driver maybe has equal blame or is even more at fault for causing the accident. This goes for what you tell the police or the other driver right after the accident too. What you say can be used against you later.
4 – An official statement
You have no obligation to supply a recorded statement, even though they will surely ask for one. Like everything else you tell an adjuster, what you say can be distorted or taken out of context and used against you and having it recorded makes it harder to correct later.
5 – “I’m not hurt.”
Some injuries may take time to manifest. You may not be bleeding noticeably after an accident, but may develop bruising later. Or, your neck or back may not start hurting until the next day after the adrenalin from the initial shock has subsided. When you feel pain you need to go to the doctor so the cause of your pain can be investigated and documented. Don’t sign a medical release until after you speak with an attorney. See #8 below.
6 – Family, friends, and/or doctor’s names
Do not give out any information about your family. Do not give out the names of your doctors. The insurance company may then contact them for more information about you, about what you told them, about your past, etc. You don’t need your personal life invaded and it isn’t required or necessary that the insurance company know these things.
7 – “I accept your offer.”
Many accident victims are not fully aware of the value of their claim and jump at the first offer made to them. Remember, the insurance company is trying to 1) pay you as little as possible and 2) close the case as fast as possible. To get the best possible offer, see point #8.
8 – “I don’t have a lawyer.”
Hiring an experienced accident attorney will give your claim more respect and attention. An attorney can use the details of the law to push the insurance company into doing what is right. By knowing how to calculate and prove both immediate and future damages of your injuries and expenses like: medical bills, time missed from work (both now and future), loss of earning potential, impact of an injury on your lifestyle, pain and suffering and any other out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred as a result of being involved in an accident, an attorney can help you get the maximum benefit you are owed. Read more about how an experienced accident attorney can help you.
All of the above can make you wonder what you can say. You can tell the truth and you should never lie, but just like how a CPA can get you a better tax refund from the IRS than you can alone, an attorney can help you navigate the system and get you a better settlement from an insurance company.