Expert Advice for Speaking to Insurance Companies After an Accident
At Case Barnett Law, we know that recovering from an accident isn’t just about healing from physical injuries—it’s about putting your life and finances back together, too. Our car accident lawyer team can help you pursue the settlement you deserve. Contact us online to learn more.
It may sound harsh, but it’s true: If you believe your insurance company is on your side, you’ve probably never filed a large claim.
That’s because, at the end of the day, insurance companies are businesses. Their objective is to bill more in premiums than they pay out in claims, which is why they may or may not offer you a fair settlement. Their loyalties lie, ultimately, with the bottom line.
Too many people learn this lesson the hard way when they need help the most. They call their insurance company for help, hoping that if they explain the accident to them, they’ll receive the settlement they deserve. Unfortunately, that’s not how it typically works out.
Before speaking with your insurer, it’s critical to understand that the things you say can have serious consequences for your claim. That’s why we recommend hiring a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. However, if you plan on speaking with your insurer alone, you need to know what to say—and, more importantly—what not to say.
Keep reading to learn our expert advice for speaking to insurance companies after a car accident.
Need help now? The sooner you hire an experienced car crash lawyer, the better chance you have of securing the settlement you deserve. Call our law office at (949) 409-0055 to set up your free case evaluation today.
Never Admit Fault
Your insurance adjuster isn’t a friend to be won over. They are there to figure out how much they have to pay you according to your policy and nothing more. Some people assume that admitting fault or partial fault will endear their adjuster to them, but it’s just not the reality. Admitting any blame, even partial blame, gives your insurer grounds to offer a lowball settlement offer, dispute liability for your damages or deny your claim altogether.
That being said, you should never lie to your insurance company. California law requires you to fully cooperate with your insurer, but that doesn’t mean you have to provide your opinion or extra information. If you’re unsure of who was at fault, it’s best to just say you don’t know and allow your lawyer to do the rest.
Don’t Offer Extra Details
It may seem like your insurance representative is extra chatty and interested in the details of your case, but don’t be fooled—they’re digging for information. Don’t make it easier for them by offering extra details and information about your case. Don’t discuss information about your family or job, about past accidents or injuries; in fact, don’t discuss anything that isn’t strictly relevant to your case.
For example, there’s no need to reveal how fast you were going at the time of your accident or the fact that you had back surgery a few years ago. They can use this information as grounds for denying your claim or paying you less than you deserve. Stick to brief and simple responses; if they need more, refer them to your attorney.
Don’t Discuss Your Injuries Before You Understand Them
Most of us try to put on a brave face when we’re injured. We tend to say things like “I’m doing okay” when asked how we’re feeling. We can’t stress this enough: Your insurance company is looking for a reason to lowball your settlement and deny your claim. They can use everything you say, even innocuous comments and polite responses, to achieve their ends.
Plus, until you’ve seen a doctor and had a complete medical examination, you don’t actually know how you’re doing. Some injuries’ effects are latent, showing up days or weeks after an accident. When the time is right, and you’ve undergone the necessary medical evaluations, your attorney will share the necessary records with your insurer to prove your injuries—but not a moment before.
Don’t Provide Names and Contacts
It’s hard to believe, but some insurance representatives try to contact people you know in an attempt to devalue your claim. They may ask friends and family members, bystanders at the scene, coworkers, and even your doctor to give them information about the accident and your injuries. That’s why it’s typically a good idea not to discuss your case with others and why you should never provide names and contact information to your insurance company.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Your insurance company doesn’t want to drag out claims; the longer it goes on, the more expensive it is for them. That being said, they also don’t want to pay out more than they have to, which is why their first settlement offer is typically just an attempt to end things quickly—not a true estimate of what you deserve.
Rather than accepting the first settlement offer you receive, especially when you don’t yet have your full health prognosis, it’s a good idea to consult with your attorney. As experienced car accident lawyers, we know that it can be tempting to take the first offer if you’re feeling financially strapped. However, you’re unlikely to get everything you deserve if you say yes to the first offer.
Don’t Let Them Know You Haven’t Spoken to a Lawyer
If you decide to speak with your insurance company before hiring a lawyer, don’t let them know that. Insurance companies fear litigation and are likely to pay out a higher settlement if they know you’re working with an attorney. Conversely, insurance adjusters know that if you’re not working with a lawyer, you probably don’t know the full value of your case, and that means they can take advantage of your ignorance.
Case Barnett Law: Trusted Advocates for Car Accident Victims
We get it: When you’re recovering from a car accident, the last thing you want to do is add a lawsuit to your plate. But hiring a lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up in court; it means that the insurance company knows better than to try to pull one over on you.Ready to get the most out of your claim? Case Barnett Law is here to help. Contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation or give us a call at (949) 409-0055 to discuss your case with a talented attorney today.