An automobile accident is not only can be a medically challenging experience, but it can be legally complex and even confusing as well. If you are injured in a car accident you believes was caused by someone else’s negligence, odds are you will hear from a representative of the other driver’s insurance company not long after the collision. The claims adjuster, or even an attorney, may want to question you about the accident, your injuries, and other issues. You likely wonder what you should do if you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company.
You are Not Obligated to Answer Questions
If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you to answer questions, your immediate reaction may be that your claim depends upon you cooperating then and there. That simply is not the case.
While it may be true that an insurance claims adjuster may have the need for additional information, that does not need to come in the form of questioning you in the fairly immediate aftermath of an accident.
Insurance companies like to employ strategies that include early questioning of a person in your position in hopes of trying to lock you into statements that will come back to haunt you. The reality is that you are very unlikely to really know the true nature and lasting impact of your injuries until some time has passed following the accident.
Insurance companies are in business for one primary reason, and that is not to settle claims at optimal amounts. They exist for the primary reason of making money for their shareholders. Therefore, they do have reputations for pulling out all the stops to limit the amount of money paid out in claims.
What to Tell an Insurance Company About Questioning
There is no reason to set a negative tone with an insurance company representative. There is no need to be argumentative or aggressive in any manner. Rather, you need only politely respond that you cannot respond to questions at this time. Indicate that you intend to consult with a lawyer before you agree to be questioned by the insurance company.
If you already have an attorney, provide the insurance company representative the name and contact information for your lawyer. Any requests such as one for questioning need to go through your attorney. In fact, the moment you to retain counsel, you should advise the insurance company of this develop.
Keep the conversation with the insurance company short and to the point. Do not make the mistake of responding to any questions while on the phone with the insurance company. For example, if the insurance company representative asks “how are you doing today?” do not mistake the question as being polite conversation. If you use the standard default answer used by most people and say “fine,” that simply, positive response can end up causing problems in regard to how you are doing following an accident.
Maintain a Written Log of Phone Calls
When it comes to communications by phone with an insurance company, including one in which an insurer asks you to submit to questioning, keep a written log. The log should include the date and time of the conversation, the name and title of the person with whom you spoke, and the general subject matter of the conversation. If any agreement was made by you, or the insurance company, to do anything in regard to the claim, make a notation of the specifics in the log as well.
The Importance of Retaining Legal Counsel
Issues like being questioned by an insurance company underscore the need to be proactive in retaining legal counsel. The reality is that the insurance claims settlement process truly begins moving in the immediate aftermath of an accident.
A personal injury attorney typically schedules an initial consultation with you at no cost or obligation. During an initial consultation, an attorney not only provides an evaluation of your case, but begins to discuss strategies to deal with an insurance company during the claims settlement process. This includes how to handle requests for questioning put forth by an insurance company.
By engaging an attorney promptly after an accident, you will not be facing pressure from the insurance company to make decisions that very well may not be in your best interests. You can focus on your physical and emotional recovery from an accident.