If you’ve been injured in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, you may decide that a personal injury lawsuit is necessary in order to obtain the compensation you need for medical bills, property damage, and other costs associated with the incident. In such cases, the information you gather and share in the aftermath of the crash could have a significant impact on your personal injury case and the outcome of insurance claims.
Insurance companies will be involved whether you file litigation or simply want a fair claim settlement. Therefore, you need to be very careful to gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate the truth of what happened and to be very accurate about your accounts of the crash.
Should you talk to an insurance adjuster without an attorney?
Some insurance adjusters will work in your best interests, but not all of them. There is a tension between their obligation to you as their insured and their interests in their company saving money by minimizing and denying claim payouts. It is their goal to settle your claim for as little money as possible. You might be surprised by the tactics some insurers will use to achieve that goal.
Below are some tips to keep in mind after a crash.
Report the crash accurately, but don’t say too much
You are required to report the crash to your insurer in a timely fashion. You will likely also need to file a police report. Call your insurance company to tell them about the crash but don’t give details about what happened unless you are absolutely sure about them, and don’t equivocate about the facts that you know are true.
Also, the crash details may not be clear right away, so it is important not to speculate about anything that you do not know for sure. Anything you say could be used against you to limit or deny your claim. It’s far easier to give additional information later than to change or retract things you initially say.
Do not commit to your injuries until you know for sure what they are
In many cases, crash victims say “I’m fine” or “I wasn’t hurt” when speaking to their insurance company. Later, they discover that they were injured, but the injuries either didn’t present right away or they couldn’t feel pain because of the adrenaline in their system. By then, however, it may be too late. Insurance companies often try to use the initial statements you made to limit your payout if those statements are advantageous to their bottom line. Get checked out by a physician before you report unequivocally about your injury status.
Talk to a lawyer
Your insurer will likely try to get you to make an official statement or to sign documents that summarize the details of the crash. This is often the final word on a claim, which is why you shouldn’t agree to it until you’ve had a lawyer look it over for you. If you plan to pursue litigation, this is especially important.
If you have questions or concerns about your legal rights after a crash caused by a negligent driver, contact us to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.