After a car accident things can be a blur and move very quickly. It’s normal to get confused and be in a state of shock in the hours and days after an auto accident. This can affect your decision making, which is why insurance companies are keen to take your statement or push through a settlement as quickly as possible.
As an honest and decent person, you want to cooperate with the right authorities. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident, just like any compassionate human being you just want everybody to be all right, everything to be better and the right parties to get fully compensated.
The problem is that as soon as you exchange details, you are immediately in a situation where you’re going to have to deal with insurance companies. That is where compassion and fairness can often be thrown straight out of the window.
Insurance companies operate to make money, not to make everything right and fair. So it’s important to realize that neither your own insurance company, nor the other parties, have your genuine best interests at heart. What they want is purely to settle things as quickly and as cheaply as possible, preferably with nailed down legal documentation signed by you forfeiting your right to making future claims.
So you need to know what to do and what not to say after a car accident, to ensure that your rights are upheld fairly.
Dealing With Your Own Insurance Company After A Car Accident
As soon as practical, you should notify your own insurance company about an accident. Even if it was not your fault, most insurance companies require that you report any accident you are involved in.
Failing to report an accident, and provide full information to your insurance company in a timely manner, could lead to your policy being voided.
When you report the accident, do not admit liability even to your own insurance company. Give fair and full facts about the situation leading up to the accident, but avoid admitting anything which could be seen as you contributing to the accident happening.
In some cases your insurance company may ask you to give them a recorded, or written statement. If this happens, you should refuse and say you’ll get back to them. You should then immediately contact an accident lawyer. Insurance companies employ professional claims adjusters who are well versed in negotiating. They will ask questions designed to get answers out of you that may hurt your claim, or make liability questionable.
If you are not confident about dealing with your insurance company, then your best course will be to speak to a lawyer before making contact with them.
Dealing With The Other Driver’s Insurance Company After An Accident
Although you’re obligated to contact your own insurance company to give them the basic facts surrounding any auto accident, you are not obligated to deal with a third party insurance company.
If the other party’s insurance company does contact you, just politely declined to speak to them and instead give the contact details of your own lawyer. Advise them that they need to deal directly with your lawyer from now on and not contact you again.
Do not get drawn into a conversation with them, as they will try to draw out information about the accident from you. Anything you say that makes liability less clear can damage the strength of your claim.
Even if you think that an accident is partly your fault, it is vital you never discuss the circumstances and admit liability until you have spoken to a qualified lawyer. Any conversation with the other driver’s insurance company can jeopardize the strength of your claim. There are many possible causes for an accident, which are sometimes not clear, so always be polite but never commit yourself during a conversation during or after the accident.
If you do not speak to an experienced auto accident lawyer, you could do something in innocence that weakens your case. For example, the other party’s insurance company could contact you to ask that you release your medical records to the other drivers insurance adjuster. This may be dressed up as a routine request, but the reality is that the insurance company may be seeking to challenge the extent of your injuries.
So the golden rule about dealing with the other drivers insurance company after an accident is don’t. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer immediately.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Expertly Deal With Insurance Companies For You
Whatever the circumstances surrounding an accident, employing an experienced lawyer to help you will make things much easier for you and help to ensure that you get the full compensation you deserve.
Sometimes for example, the other side’s insurance company may dispute liability to avoid paying a full claim, even if their client is obviously fully responsible for the accident. This is a common tactic employed.
They do this because it pushes the responsibility of proving liability onto the other driver. If the police report is clear in its conclusions, then that alone may be enough to prove liability. However this isn’t always the case, and liability is often not clearly stated.
If this situation occurs, you will find the other party’s insurance company will not offer you the full value for your case. By casting doubt on liability, they have put themselves into a stronger position to negotiate a lower claim value.
An experienced lawyer will be able to help you with all these matters. That experience with car accidents and the games that insurance companies play, means they will be able to help put you in a strong position initially and potentially block some of the unsavoury tactics employed by insurance companies.
It is important not to delay in getting a team behind you who can give you the best advice in getting the compensation you deserve. If you delay, your case weakens. Evidence disappears, memories weaken and people move on. It’s in your best interests to make sure there is somebody who can advise you in all dealings relating to your automobile accident, from talking to insurance companies through to medical care and expenses incurred.