In 2019, 2.74 million people were injured in car accidents. But for those people—and for you—the story doesn’t end with your crash.
As far as insurance companies are concerned, it’s just the start of the story. The crash already happened—now you need to find out who pays for it.
If you were injured in a car accident, talking to your insurance company is a stress-inducing but unavoidable part of the process. This guide will help you navigate those conversations successfully.
Your Own Insurance Team
After a speeding accident, you’re legally obligated to report the accident to your insurance company, regardless of the details of the accident. Otherwise, your insurance company can’t assess what happened.
Here’s the catch: your insurance company is looking out for their own interests, not yours. This is where talking to your insurance company gets tricky.
What is an Insurance Adjuster?
After your accident, you’ll have to speak with an insurance adjuster. This is someone who investigates the details of insurance claims to assess the company’s liability. They’ll speak with you and the other party, research details, interview witnesses, obtain records like police or medical reports, and inspect any damaged property.
Whether or not you’re required to speak with them depends on the adjuster in question.
If the adjuster is sent by your company, you’ll have to give a recorded statement to comply with the terms of the policy. This does not mean you are helpless to set the terms—you can dictate the timing and terms of the conversation so that you’re prepared.
How Your Statement Can Be Used Against You
However, it is important to remember one essential detail: the insurance adjuster does not work for you. They work for your insurance company. Their job is not to help you, but to assess the company’s liability. This is always done in the company’s best interest.
Remember, insurance companies are businesses, not charities, and they profit sort of like casinos—everyone pays to play, but the house pays out as little as possible. Your insurance adjuster’s job is to reduce or negate the company’s need to pay. Any reason to deny your claim will be used against you.
This is where your statement comes in. Much like an insurance company scrutinizes your policy for loopholes and weak spots, an insurance adjuster will scrutinize your statement for language that can be used against you. This typically comes down to three areas:
- Inexact language
- Lack of knowledge about your injuries
- Inability to focus on the conversation
For example, an adjuster can use inexact or confusing language to trap you into answering a question you don’t understand or answering in a way you didn’t intend. They can also use common inexact phrases in your vocabulary, like “I guess so” or “I’m not sure” against you. Since you don’t spell out what it means, insurance companies interpret it to mean whatever is most useful for them.
Other Insurance Companies
Unfortunately, your worries don’t end with your own insurance company. One way or another, you’ll have to deal with the other party’s insurance.
Here’s the good news: you are not under any legal obligation to talk to the other party’s insurance adjuster. However, whether or not you should talk to them is a different story.
First and foremost, you should not speak with the other party’s adjuster if you can let your attorney speak for you. They know how to handle insurance adjusters and can present your case in exactly the right light.
Second, you should not speak to the other party’s insurance adjuster if there’s a chance that anyone involved (including you) might make a claim of serious personal injury.
When is it a Good Idea to Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance Company?
There is exactly one instance when it’s a good idea to speak to the other party’s insurance adjuster: when the other party was clearly at fault and has either lied to or refused to speak with their own insurance company.
In that case, you should still have your attorney speak for you, but it is imperative to talk to the other side’s insurance adjuster. Otherwise, they won’t have any way of knowing who’s really at fault. Plus, if the other party refused to speak to them or lied to them, the adjuster has no idea of the extent of your injuries or property damage. If you don’t speak to them, you may never see compensation for the accident.
If, for some reason, you have to talk to the adjuster yourself, keep in mind that they’re in the business of paying out as little as possible. Provide basic, objective facts. Do not speculate. Do not guess. Do not agree to have your statement recorded—this is designed to trap you into a certain version of events. If you have to go beyond basic, objective facts, you need your own company’s adjuster in on the conversation.
What if Your Insurance Claim is Denied?
Let’s say the worst happens and your claim is denied. There are several reasons to deny a claim, but they all boil down to the same thing—your insurance company found an excuse to refuse to pay.
Take a deep breath. Do not give up. You’re not done fighting yet.
Insurance companies know that car accident victims are frightened and overwhelmed. They’re counting on the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing, or that you don’t know how to fight back, or that you don’t have the time to know where to begin. They’re counting on you giving up and going away.
You still have options. You can fight for what you deserve. That’s where we can help.
Need Insurance Support After a Car Accident?
After your car accident, you should be focused on healing, not fighting with insurance companies. Unfortunately, insurance companies often make the road to recovery even harder.
We specialize in personal injury. Our team is made of highly experienced trial lawyers who know what it takes to win a car accident case, and we won’t stop until we’ve achieved your best possible outcome.
Let us fight for you and your family. Schedule your free consultation today.