It can be challenging to know what to say and how much information to provide when another driver’s insurance company contacts you after an accident. At Pepper & Odom, P.C., our auto accident attorneys recommend that you contact a lawyer before speaking to any insurance adjusters or insurance company representatives. If you do need to deal with an insurer, these tips can help you understand your rights and protect your interests.
Am I Legally Required To Speak To Another Motorist’s Insurance Company?
Many injured victims are focused on their recovery and putting their lives back together after an accident. Insurance adjusters will often try to take advantage of your vulnerable state and give you the impression that you are required to give a statement. This is simply untrue – you are not legally required to speak to them, sign anything, or accept a settlement if you don’t want to. The best thing you can do to protect your rights is to have an experienced car accident lawyer evaluate your case and determine a course of action that is appropriate for your specific situation.
Should I Give a Statement?
Although it depends on the circumstances, generally, it is not a good idea to give a statement to another driver’s insurance company on your own. If you have hired a personal injury lawyer or if an insurance adjuster from your own auto insurance company has contacted you, let them handle all communications with the other driver’s insurer.
Even if you feel fine and you are just seeking compensation for damage to your vehicle, it is important to remember that insurance companies are looking out for their best interests, not yours. They always want to pay out as little as possible, and injuries that may seem minor can worsen and require extensive medical care. Anything you say to the other driver’s insurance company can be used against you to deny your claim or reduce its value.
What Should I Say If I Do Speak With The Other Driver’s Insurer?
Even if the crash was minor, having your lawyer or the adjuster from your own insurance company speak to an insurer is ideal. However, in some situations, you may have to communicate with them. In this case, it is critical to be very careful about what you say and how you say it.
Do not tell an insurance adjuster that you feel fine or admit fault. Answer only the questions that are asked – there is no need to volunteer any additional information. Don’t speculate about how an accident may have happened. If you are unsure of the answer to a question, it is okay to simply state, “I don’t know.” Stick only to the facts you are aware of and try to keep your emotions out of it.
If they ask you to give a recorded or written statement, politely refuse. You are not required to provide either of these and once your statement is documented in this way, the insurer may use it to box you into a certain version of events. Your injuries may be more serious than you thought and your memory of the accident may come back in bits and pieces over the following days, weeks, and months. If they differ from what you communicated in a written or recorded statement, the insurance company may attempt to discredit you and deny or minimize the value of your claim.
When Should I Contact An Auto Accident Lawyer?
Regardless of whether you think an accident or your injuries are minor, having a car accident attorney evaluate your case as soon as possible can help protect your rights and interests. Your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer is free, so you don’t have anything to lose if you contact an attorney. On the other hand, if you speak to another driver’s insurance company without seeking the advice of counsel first, you may be left paying for medical bills and other accident-related expenses, even if someone else is at fault.
Contact An Auto Accident Attorney In Birmingham, AL or Jackson, MS
Our car accident lawyers at Pepper & Odom, P.C. are committed to helping injured victims recover the compensation they need to heal and move forward after a crash. Contact us online or call our office in Birmingham, Alabama at 205-250-1107 or Jackson, Mississippi at 601-202-1111. Our personal injury attorneys represent clients in Alabama, Mississippi, and nationwide, utilizing local counsel.