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Another Driver's Insurance Company Wants Your Statement – READ THIS FIRST!
You've been in a car accident and another driver's insurance company wants a statement from you about how the crash occurred. Should you give them one? In most cases, the answer is no. You are not legally obligated to talk to another driver's insurance company. If you do, be forewarned that the company may try to use your words against you to reduce the compensation you deserve, or even to deny your claim completely.
Following a Crash
When you've been in a car accident, there are several things you should do following the crash. You should:
- Make sure everyone is okay and call for emergency responders if necessary.
- Report the accident to police.
- Exchange information with the other driver.
- Try to get witness statements.
- Get checked out by a doctor, even if you don't have visible injuries.
- Notify your own insurance company about the accident.
- Consider hiring a car accident attorney to handle your claim, especially if you were injured.
There are also some things that you shouldn't do, including, as stated before, speaking to the other driver's insurance company. The goal of insurance companies is to pay out as little as possible for car accident claims. They are, after all, in the business of making money, and the more they have to pay to crash victims, the less money they make.
An adjuster from the other company might contact you under the guise of trying to quickly settle the claim and get you compensated for your injuries and other damages, but in actuality, they may be trying to get you to say something that will hurt your claim. They may come across as very friendly, helpful, and easy to talk to. Don't talk to them. Remember that they are representing their own policyholder and their own financial interests, not yours.
They have an extreme competitive advantage because of their experience with car crashes, as well as the institutional knowledge and tools they can use to their advantage. In fairness, not every insurance adjuster will intentionally try to trip you up, but you may inadvertently say something damaging to your claim that you hadn't reported before. Or, if you were more seriously injured, you may still be undergoing medical treatment and not even be sure what your final claim is worth, so it is too early to provide information about your injuries and potential medical needs.
If you do get caught on the phone talking to another driver's insurance company, keep the conversation direct and to the point. Provide the same facts that you gave to the police and don't offer any extra information. Also, never agree to make a recorded statement.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
The best course of action, instead of talking to a representative of another driver's insurance company, is to politely tell the person to talk to your attorney. If you don't have an attorney and an insurance adjuster from your own insurance company is involved in your claim, the other driver's insurance company should talk to your adjuster.
Why should you consider an attorney? Car accident attorneys are experienced in dealing with insurance claims. They understand the complexities of the insurance claims process and the insurance and personal injury laws of their states. Experienced attorneys can help ensure that victims of car accident injuries and serious property damage are fairly compensated for their losses.
An attorney can handle all communications with insurance companies for you, easing the stress of the process. Your attorney will also know what to say and not say when speaking with another driver's insurance company.
Most people who are in car wrecks are not experienced in dealing with insurance claim settlements. Insurance company claims adjusters negotiate claims for a living, so are very skilled at the process. Insurance companies employ their own attorneys who know all the intricacies of the law to help settle or deny claims. Having an attorney on your side who understands how insurance companies operate and how the claims process works helps even the playing field.