Don’t Discuss Your Car Accident Injuries with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
Soon after an automobile accident, while you’re still recovering from your injuries, you may get a phone call from a representative of the other driver’s insurance company. It is most likely a claims adjuster, who will ask you how you’re doing and perhaps ask other questions about the accident and its aftermath. It’s also possible that the adjuster will offer you a sum of money to settle your claim. If any of this happens, you are far better off saying nothing and contacting an attorney.
Any information you give the other side’s insurance company can only work to your disadvantage. Here are the reasons why it can be a costly mistake:
- They may use your statements against you — The primary objective of an insurance adjuster is to minimize the amount of money their company has to pay for your claim. They are skilled at finding ways to downplay the severity of your injuries and possibly to deny your claim. By discussing your case with them without proper legal guidance, you expose yourself to the risk of having your words manipulated or taken out of context to weaken your case.
- Your statements can be misconstrued — Insurance adjusters may ask leading questions and using persuasive tactics to get you to make statements that are not in your best interests. They may attempt to elicit responses that favor their company’s interests. Even innocent or honest statements can be twisted to the advantage of the insurance company.
- You may not fully understand your injuries — In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, the shock and adrenaline can mask the full extent of your injuries. Some injuries may not be fully apparent at first and might take time to develop or become more serious.
- Early settlement offers are too low — These offers are designed to resolve the matter as swiftly and inexpensively as possible, often at a much lower amount than the actual cost of your injuries. You need to have a complete understanding of your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage costs and other damages before considering any settlement.
- There may be legal implications — Discussing your injuries with the other driver’s insurance company without legal representation may compromise your right to pursue damages. For example, you might reveal information that you are not legally required to disclose or you might inadvertently admit to a level of responsibility.
If you’ve been in a crash with another vehicle, it is in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney who can provide legal advice and represent your interests throughout the negotiations. An attorney will negotiate a fair settlement in your behalf and, if required, bring your case to court for resolution.
The law firm of Pulverman & Pulverman, LLP in Santa Barbara provides effective representation for car accident victims throughout southern California. Contact us online or call 805.259.3581 for a free initial consultation.