Your rights following a car accident aren’t typically known to you. You don’t have any reason to get to know them beforehand, because you don’t plan on being involved in a car accident. It happens all the time, and many victims end up unsure what to do following an accident. If you are involved in a car accident, your best bet is to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights. This is not you filing a lawsuit against a driver or seeking compensation for something that’s minor and being handled by insurance. This is you looking for someone to tell you what to do, how to know your rights and to guide you when you’re contacted by the other driver’s insurance company.
What to Say to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
If there is one thing you must know following an accident, it’s that the other driver’s insurance company isn’t contacting you for nothing. Most insurance companies just handle the claim, get your car fixed, rent you a car, and move on. In some cases, they might call to ask a question or two, but they usually don’t. If an insurance company calls you and wants you to provide a statement to their company, you should know they want something more from you.
They probably realize you have a case against them and you could sue. They want to keep their financial obligation to them as low as possible, so they want you to go on record with your statement saying you’re not injured, that you’re not sure what happened, or anything else that might help them avoid paying you more than they want if you decide to file a lawsuit later. They might even call to offer a settlement, and it might be far lower than you are owed.
The best thing you can do if you are contacted by an insurance company following an accident is say nothing and call a personal injury attorney to guide you.
If you are contacted by the other insurance company, say nothing. Don’t talk to them. Call an attorney to find out if you are required to speak to them. Saying nothing is always the best choice unless you’re required to say something. You’ll want to know your rights first, which is why a personal injury attorney is the first call you should make once you know the insurance company is looking to speak to you.
Never Admit Fault
At the crash, to the insurance company, or even to your best friend, never admit you were to blame for an accident. Even if you know you’re not to blame, but you make an innocuous statement about not seeing the other driver coming or that you were driving a few miles over the limit, you could put yourself in a situation where blame could be shifted to you. Never apologize for an accident even if you’re just doing it because it’s a natural reaction when something bad happens. Never put yourself in a situation where the other driver or insurance company might place the blame on you following an accident.
See a Doctor Right Away
You should do this no matter what, but many victims don’t. It’s easy to assume you’re not injured at first, but you might be. If the other insurance company calls you and asks why you haven’t seen a doctor, never tell them that you don’t believe you are injured. If you find out later today you are injured, you just talked yourself out of a medical settlement by admitting you don’t think you have any injuries. If the insurance company has this on record, they’ll use this to get out of paying your medical bills. If they contact you and want to know why you haven’t seen the doctor yet, tell them you are seeing the doctor to check on injuries and then go to the doctor.
If the insurance company is looking for your signature on the paperwork, don’t sign anything. Don’t sign anything until you know it’s legal and required. If they ask you to sign a medical release, don’t do it. They can look into your entire medical history and argue the time you fell off your bed in the third grade and ended up with a concussion caused your head injury from the accident because it was a pre-existing condition. Call a personal injury attorney to discuss any paperwork you’re asked to sign.
Always Keep Your Story Simple
Don’t elaborate. Don’t speculate. Don’t assume. Don’t try to piece things together if you don’t know them as fact, and don’t try to figure out what is going on by yourself. State only what you know, don’t deviate from the story you told from the beginning, and don’t add details. The more your story changes, the more it looks like you’re adding details, keeping things from the insurance company, or looking for more money.
Never speak to an insurance company that calls you without first discussing the case with an attorney. A personal injury attorney is here for more than just lawsuits. They’re here to protect you from talking yourself right out of a settlement. Let us help you keep your case simple and factual, and let us help you get your car repaired, your medical bills paid for, and your life back on track following an unfortunate accident.