4 Things to Avoid Saying to the At-Fault Driver's Insurance Company
After you've been injured in a vehicle accident caused by another driver, that person's automotive insurance company may call you to offer a settlement. If your injury was relatively minor, you're likely to find the offer to be reasonable. The situation can get tricky, however, if your accident has led to expensive medical bills and substantial time off work. The initial settlement offer may seem too low, as the insurer naturally doesn't want to pay more than it has to.
Personal injury lawyers recommend not talking at length to a claims adjuster without legal representation. You can handle the negotiations process on your own if you prefer, but there are certain things you shouldn't discuss with the insurance representative because they can hurt your case:
Don't answer questions such as how heavy the traffic was and what the other driver was doing just before the accident. You don't have precise answers and you'll only be guessing. Simply say you don't know.
In addition, don't speculate about an accident-related medical problem when you're talking to the adjuster if it hasn't been confirmed by a medical practitioner.
2. Admissions of Fault
The representative may try to steer you toward an admission that you were partly at fault. Don't answer questions such as whether you might have been distracted or driving too fast for the road conditions.
Don't tell the adjuster names of any of your relatives, friends, or coworkers or of your family doctor and other health care practitioners you see. They may want to contact some of these people to find out more information about your current and past circumstances.
Don't apologize for anything during the conversation. For example, two people who get into a vehicle collision may get into an argument at the scene. If this happened in your case and the adjuster mentions it, don't apologize for your part in the episode.
An Additional Consideration
You're under no obligation to make a recorded statement for the insurer. If they make this request, refuse it. If you unintentionally say anything problematic to the insurer, you don't want it on an official statement that they can use against you.
Consult a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation if you want more information about things not to say to insurance company representatives after an accident. These attorneys generally work on a contingency basis. That means if you do hire the lawyer, you pay a percentage of your settlement instead of upfront fees. You may decide having legal representation is advantageous if it is likely to help you acquire more reasonable compensation. Speak with a representative from a firm like the Bulluck Law Group for further advice.