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I was in a car accident and my car was completely destroyed. It was the other driver's fault. How should I deal with your insurance company?
Short answer: no.
Many experts would advise against talking to the other person's insurance company. Although he should call his insurance company to report the accident, he is not required to speak with the other driver's insurer.
The best way to deal with another insurer for more serious auto accidents isconsult a personal injury attorney. He or she can handle them.
Why is it worth doing?
The other driver's insurance company doesn't care about you. (SeeHow to know when you need a lawyer.)
The other insurance company is not your friend.
Insurance companies always have a financial interest in protecting the interests of their clients. And of course they have an interest in it.protect your own financial interests. They represent both interests by doing two things as much as they can:
- Complete rejection of the maximum number of claims for traffic accidents.
- Negotiate the lowest settlement possible on other auto accident claims.
It boils down to this: In order to reduce the claims you pay, the insurance company must reject the claims made.
Most car accident victims are not insurance agents or lawyers.
The insurance agent knows this. You are in their own court and those are their rules. They will use their excellent knowledge to play insurance claims against you.
Why it is risky to talk to other insurance companies
If you talk to the other driver's insurance adjuster, you are likely to ruin your own case. This insurance company will try to use anything you say against you later in the claim,if it was your fault or not. Insurance adjusters are very well trained to use what you say against you.
Look, there is no legal requirement for you to try or talk to another insurance company.
But that will rarely, if ever, stop the insurance company from trying to contact you. If so, it's a good idea not to answer the phone and talk to a lawyer.
when you talk tosomeoneabout the accident, write down the details of your conversation in yoursaccident record(link opens a printable PDF form).
They are going to want to record you
If you talk to the other driver's insurance company, the adjuster will probably want a recorded statement. The proofreader will talk to you in a very friendly way and say something like:
"We can really speed up the claim process if you provide a recorded statement."
By Enjuris:If you are talking to the other driver's insurance company and want to record the conversation, don't! You should definitely talk to a personal injury lawyer.
A recorded statement can be very damaging. Sometimes your statement may indicate that you do not have a valid accident claim. If you don't have a claim, your injuries and property damage are yours.
The biggest concern is that the recorded statement could be used to undermine a legitimate accident claim. Here are some sneaky ways they can do it:
- The insurance adjuster will look at the statement you give them with the statement you gave to the police. They will also read the statement you would make if the case involved a lawsuit. If they notice any inconsistencies in these statements, the claim may be denied. It is not uncommon for a person to tell the accident story slightly differently if they tell it four or five times in three months.
- Adjusters often ask you tricky questions that you can answer in a way that will hurt your claim. Sometimes an aggressive counselor can trick you into accepting facts that you don't know are true. You can get mad and say "I guess so" so the guy will leave you alone. This can greatly damage his case.
- If your car accident case goes to court, the defense can use your recorded statement before the insurance company to question you. That could have been months ago and hell if you remember what you said. Any contradiction you make with the previous statement can be very harmful. A good defense attorney will highlight discrepancies to the jury and take advantage of them.
Let's be honest: not all insurance companies will play games with you over the phone. But if they try to undermine your case, it can really mess things up.
Lookinsurance claims settlement stagesto get an idea of the whole process.
By Enjuris:If you believe you have been mistreated by an insurance adjuster, you should report it to your state insurance department. Find your state insurance department on the siteNational Association of Insurance Commissioners.
You don't know your entire medical situation.
If you have been in a serious car accident and sustained serious injuries, your full medical diagnosis may not be complete. It may give an inaccurate picture of your injury.
That is why insurance adjusters have been known to try to reach car accident victims over the phone as quickly as possible. They want to get a good idea of what the likely value of the case is. This is called "reserve value."
When the adjuster has a reserve value in mind, good luck getting a settlement above that amount. If you speak to them without an attorney, you may provide inaccurate information that sets up an artificially low reserve amount.
This increases the likelihood that you will have to file a lawsuit. Which means you can wait months to get paid. if you win If you lose, you win nothing.
There are exceptions where you can speak
We are talking about car accidents and insurance companies, so there are exceptions.
If you are in a minor car accident and the other driver is 100% at fault and it is clear that you can talk to a second adjuster to get things done quickly. You may want to consider this if the police report indicates that another driver caused the accident. If the police called the other driver, even better.
By Enjuris:If your car accident was minor and your injuries are minor, you may not need a lawyer. Read this Enjuris article for tips onwhen you don't need a lawyer.
But if your accident and injury involves any of the following, seek the help of a personal injury attorney:
- Broken bones, hospitalizations, long-term health consequences
- Medical treatments over $2,000
- Absence for more than one or two days from work/school or normal activities
- Any dispute over who is at fault.
- Several people were injured
- Insurance companies play rough
You must make a declaration with your own insurance company.
As we noted above, you have a contractual obligation to work with your auto insurance company.
Your insurance policy may contain language that requires you to provide a recorded statement if requested by the adjuster. If asked, you can ask the trustee to tell you the exact language of the contract that requires it.
Remember that your own insurance companycould potentially take a stand against you. Therefore, you should think very carefully about each piece of information you provide in a recorded statement to your insurer.
But many experts would advise against giving a recorded statement to any insurance company without the advice of apersonal injury attorney.
Contact a personal injury attorney today if you are unsure if you are dealing with one of the insurance companies.Our handy directory of law firms can help.