One of the most common and harmful mistakes that a driver can make after being involved in a car accident is sharing too much information with the at-fault party’s insurance company. But how much information is too much? It’s best if you don’t provide any information when the other party’s insurance adjuster contacts you.
To understand why you shouldn’t share any information with the other party’s insurance adjuster, you must understand how that adjuster’s job works and his goals. Any time there’s a car accident, each insurance company opens an investigation into the accident to determine which driver was at fault. The insurance adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company is running that company’s investigation, but his goal is not to get to the bottom of what happened or ensure that you as a victim are fairly compensated. His goal is to minimize the amount of money that his insurance company ends up paying out on every claim. He does this by either getting your claim dismissed or settling it for as little as possible.
The at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster will probably act friendly with you, and this is one of the reasons so many drivers are too trusting. They feel like the insurance adjuster is their friend, when in actuality he’s working against them. Each time he talks to you, he’s trying to obtain evidence that builds his case and weakens yours.
One of the main ways that insurance adjusters do this is through recorded statements. The adjuster asks you to make a recorded statement about what happened. Many people do this without hesitation, thinking that it’s not a problem since they have nothing to hide.
Even if you know that you weren’t at fault for the accident, it’s still never a smart decision to make a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance adjuster. There’s no way it can help you, because the only one who will have the statement is the insurance adjuster who is working against your claim. The only thing that a recorded statement can do is hurt you. The insurance adjuster will likely use conversational tactics to get you to inadvertently say something that could weaken your claim, such as admitting to speeding or mentioning that you didn’t see something.
After the insurance adjuster has your recorded statement, he’s going to compare that to any other statements that are on file from you, such as statements you made to police officers at the scene of the accident. If he finds any contradictions or inconsistencies, he can use those against you. Let’s say that your claim ends up going to court, and you’re being cross examined. The opposing counsel can use your recorded statement while cross examining you, and again, any contradictions or inconsistencies will be used against you. You’ll end up looking untrustworthy.
Don’t think that just because you’re going to tell the truth that your story will be the same every time. It’s normal for us to remember details of an accident with time, or realize something new. Injuries often don’t present symptoms until days after a car accident, so you could have told an officer at the scene that you were uninjured, only to discover days later that you did suffer an injury. However, if you tell an officer that you are fine, but then say in a recorded statement that you were injured, the insurance adjuster will try to use that against you.
Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster has plenty of experience in talking to drivers and getting them to say things that weaken their cases. He does this every day, and if he wasn’t good at his job, he wouldn’t keep it for very long. Most people don’t get into many car accidents, so you won’t have near the level of experience that the insurance adjuster does.
The best thing to do after a car accident is to hire a lawyer to represent you. Then, your lawyer can communicate with the other driver’s insurance. Not only will your lawyer know what to say, but what your lawyer says can’t be used to incriminate you or weaken your claim, since he wasn’t at the scene of the accident
After you’ve been involved in a car accident and received the police report, you need to contact your insurance company to file a claim. There are some important steps to take when filing the claim and some tips to remember so that you can get the maximum results possible after the claim has been processed. You need to understand the different types of claims that are filed, such as the medical claim for injuries that are sustained in the accident and the claim for property damage so that you can get your vehicle repaired. The information for property damage often includes towing your vehicle to the body shop if you can’t drive it and a rental car so that you will have a vehicle to drive.
An insurance claim is usually filed after a car accident, but it can also be filed if your vehicle has been vandalized, stolen or damaged in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with another car, such as if a tree falls on the car or it’s damaged from hail. The phone number for the insurance company should be listed on your insurance card, which you need to keep inside your vehicle at all times in the event of an emergency or if you’re stopped by an officer who wants to see proof that your vehicle is covered. You can also find your insurance information online as most companies have your documents available in PDF format.
When you contact the company, you will need to give your name, date of birth and the date that the incident occurred. Be prepared to give the names and contact information of all of those involved in the accident including the other driver. Some companies require that you give a sworn statement of what happened while others are fine with a verbal or written acknowledgement. Offer any details about the weather conditions at the time of the incident and the circumstances that led to the accident, such as swerving in the road or any mechanical issues that might have been wrong with the car that could have caused the accident to take place. Give pictures to the insurance company as there will be someone who can examine them and determine more as to what might have happened and the monetary amount that could be given to you and the people who were in the car.
A case worker will go through your claim with you once you have given your basic information. Sometimes, you might have to meet the claims specialist to talk about the damage done to your vehicle and the injuries that you or the passengers sustained. This is the time when you can give medical records and any other proof that you have to support your claim. The specialist will examine your car to see the extent of the damage and to see if you might be exaggerating your claim. If the claim looks to be proven, then the specialist will often make an offer for a settlement at that time. You shouldn’t take the first offer that is made. It’s wise to have an offer in your head that you want to settle for, countering back and forth so that you can reach an agreement as to the claim. At times, the car might need to be declared a total loss because of the extent of the damages. If this is the case, then the specialist will likely offer a payment for the value of the vehicle. This can help you to make a down payment on another car or to even buy a car with the money that you have.
The insurance company might require that you keep the car secure until the claim is settled. This would include keeping a cover over it so that there is no further damage or keeping receipts for any minor work that is done to the car before the claim can be paid out and settled. If the insurance company is difficult to work with, then you might want ot seek the help of an attorney.