7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Talk to an Insurance Company After a Car Accident
After a car accident, it’s typical to speak with the insurance company of the other driver to file a claim. If the accident is minor and straightforward, this may be advantageous to you; you can file the claim, receive compensation, fix your car, and go on your way.
But in most cases, you shouldn’t talk to an insurance company at all – at least, not by yourself. Why is this the case and what should you do instead?
Talking to Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are an important part of the process post-accident. Talking to them and working with them isn’t, in itself, bad. What’s important is that you have the help of a personal injury lawyer so you can navigate these conversations and situations adequately.
Your lawyer will help you understand the nature of your car accident, the state of your claim, potential compensation you could receive, and legal dynamics. Together, they'll give you a much stronger foundation on which to argue your case and hopefully, leave you with a better claim.
Why You Shouldn’t Talk to an Insurance Company
Why shouldn't you talk to an insurance company yourself?
There are several important reasons to understand.
- Insurance companies deliberately make low offers. Insurance companies are profit-seeking organizations, so they make decisions to increase revenue and minimize costs. Because of this prerogative, most insurance companies deliberately make low offers as compensation for car accidents. If you accept the offer at face value, you could end up with a shortfall that doesn't adequately compensate you for the accident.
- You aren’t a professional. No matter how much reading you've done or how confident you feel, the truth is, you're not a legal professional. You don't understand all the laws in your state, you don't understand the complexities of car accident cases, and you may not even understand your own insurance policy. Experienced professionals are much better suited to handle these conversations.
- You might slip up and say something disadvantageous. Insurance adjusters sometimes intentionally get you to talk in an effort to get you to slip up and say something disadvantageous. For example, if you admit to being distracted while driving, you could be held at partial fault for the accident.
- Your recorded statements could be used against you.The Miranda Rights state that “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law,” and this principle holds true here as well. If the insurance company gets a recorded statement from you that contradicts what you said at the scene of the accident, they can point out the contradiction and pin you as an unreliable witness.
- You could end up signing a medical release. Sometimes, insurance adjusters will pressure you to sign a medical release to release all your medical information. If you want to preserve your privacy, it's important to avoid this.
- Lawyers are on your side. Having a professional lawyer at your side during your conversations with the insurance company gives you an advocate and an ally. Your lawyer is on your side, working on your behalf to get you a better outcome.
- You have enough to deal with. Car accidents are traumatizing events, and in the aftermath, you're probably dealing with pain, damage, and emotional recovery. You have enough to deal with, so don’t try to tackle insurance company conversations entirely on your own.
There are some important caveats you'll need to keep in mind, however:
- You may be contractually or legally required to talk. In some situations, you may be contractually or legally required to speak with an insurance company. For example,if you currently live in a no-fault state, you may be required to report the car accident to your insurance company. You may also be under a contract that forces you to disclose accidents to your insurance company.
- Talking can be good (with a professional at your side). Having a conversation with an insurance company and negotiating for a better result can be advantageous. You just need to make sure you have professional counsel guiding you.
- Not all car accidents are the same. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all car accidents are the same level of severity or complexity. While there are some general guidelines you can follow to see better results, your course of action should change based on the circumstances of your accident.
For the most part, you should never talk to your insurance company by yourself after a car accident. Instead, contact a professional car accident lawyer so you can get professional guidance and ultimately see better results.
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