Should I Talk to the Insurance Company After a Car Accident?
Handling a lot of motor vehicle collision cases, I am often asked by injured motorists this question. First, when we are talking about “The Insurance Company,” it is important to make sure we understand that in a usual, two-vehicle accident, there will be two insurance companies involved (or two adjusters from the same company if both motorists have insurance through the same insurance company). You should absolutely cooperate with your insurance company/adjuster, and may have a duty to do so under the terms of the policy. This article addresses whether you should speak to, or provide information to, the other driver’s insurance company/adjuster.
I generally advise clients that they should not speak to the other driver’s insurance company. While you will certainly be concerned with the property damage, you should work with your own insurance company to get your car fixed, and let them be the point of contact with the other driver’s insurer. With respect to any injuries or other issues, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible, so that they may not only advise you of the best way to proceed, but they will also handle all communications with the other driver’s insurance company.
Why is this important? Imagine the following scenario. You are involved in a motor vehicle collision on a Thursday morning. You feel “banged up,” but do not feel like you have any significant injury. You choose to go to work as planned so that you do not miss any work / wages, and try to deal with the pain yourself until it goes away. The next day, the other driver’s insurance company calls, and asks for a recorded statement. Having not read this article, you may assume that you have a duty or requirement to give a statement. You are asked if you are injured, and you answer – according to your belief – that you are not. You decide to rest up over the weekend, and see how you feel after taking it easy for a couple of days.
You do not feel better and days later, you go to a doctor or hospital and find out that you have a significant injury which will not resolve just by rest alone. You will need medical treatment and therapy. If you make a claim for this injury, it’s possible, if not likely that the insurance company will use your statement – that you had no injuries – against you and attempt to deny you your full compensation.
In most situations it is best to not talk to the other motorists insurance company/adjuster before getting the proper advice. It is best to speak to an attorney who handles these cases as soon as possible.