Silence is Golden after an Auto Accident, Part I

While you might think that the first thing you need to do after a car crash is call your insurance company and let them know, you’d be wrong. Actually, silence is golden when it comes to what to say when you’ve been in wreck.

Talking to an insurance company when you are upset, scared and angry will just mean you’ll say something that may come back to haunt you later. As an auto accident attorney, I’ve seen this happen time and time again, and the result is the insurance company trying to lowball a claim or deny it.

If you say the wrong thing to them, you might just be kissing your fair settlement goodbye. This is one of the major reasons you need a qualified and skilled auto accident attorney on “your” side when you deal with the insurance company. Your auto accident attorney knows how to handle the insurance company run-around.

Insurance companies really don’t like dealing with lawyers because it means they might have to go to court. Going to court with your auto accident attorney usually means the company has to fork out bigger settlements and when it comes to protecting their bottom line, these companies would rather not pay out large sums, even if you do deserve more compensation. Discuss this kind of situation with your auto accident attorney, as only they have the training to navigate the claims process and make sure your settlement is fair.

Going it alone with the insurance company isn’t a really good idea, so if you have been in a collision and are injured, go to the hospital for treatment. You can call the insurance agent later. No rush. Just remember they are not your best friends and will act to minimize any claim you may have.

The advice that I give car accident victims comes from my experience as an auto accident attorney. For instance, while you are on the phone with the agent later, don’t guesstimate anything that happened relating to your accident. Stick to the facts, plain and simple, because anything you “guess” at, such as your speed and stopping distance is likely to be wrong.

During the course of your conversation, the question of who was at fault is bound to come up. At this point, do not blurt out that the accident was your fault. A good auto accident attorney will tell you right away that even if you were partially to blame for the accident, the other driver may be even more at fault. Keep whatever you are thinking and feeling to yourself, even if it’s the police asking questions. Just provide what facts you are sure of and nothing else.

Many insurance adjusters call and want what they refer to as an official statement. You are not obligated to provide one. If you are asked to give one, call your auto accident attorney immediately. They will tell you anything you say may be distorted or used out of context and damage your case. If a statement is recorded, it can’t be corrected.

While you may have gotten out of the accident with minor injuries, one of the things you do not want to say to the insurance adjuster is that you are not hurt. People don’t often really know this for a fact until a few days after an accident when injuries may start to show up, such as bruising, cracked ribs, compressed discs in your spine etc. When the pain hits, you need to see a doctor and be properly assessed, so do not sign a medical release until you talk to your auto accident attorney.