Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | December 27, 2018
After a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may receive a call from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance adjuster will likely ask you to give a statement about what happened. Do you have to talk to the insurance adjuster? If you choose to do so, what are the risks? Here is a brief overview.
Considerations for Giving a Statement to an Insurance Company
The short answer is “probably not.” In most cases accident victims do not have a legal obligation to give a statement to the other party’s insurance company (though they may be required to give a statement to their own insurer). If you have any questions about whether you have an obligation to speak with an insurance company, consult with a qualified auto accident attorney immediately.
Always speak with an attorney first. Talking with a lawyer before you speak with the insurance company can help you make more effective decisions about what you should and shouldn’t communicate about the accident. Here are two considerations to keep in mind:
- Never admit fault. When it comes to car accidents, “fault” is a question of matching the facts with legal concepts like “negligence” and “strict liability.” Insurance company employees know this. Accident victims often do not. As a result, in conversations with insurance adjusters, victims may make statements that sound casual, like “it wasn’t the other driver’s fault he couldn’t stop” or “I should have seen the other driver coming,” but that the insurance adjuster will treat as having legal meaning that reduces the insurance company’s obligation to pay. Casually saying something that sounds like an admission of fault, in other words, can lead to accident victims losing their right to recover compensation from the insurance company.
- Never make statements that minimize your injury or loss. Similar to admitting fault without realizing it, car accident victims may respond casually to questions about how they’re doing. It’s only natural to say something like “Oh, I’m fine now,” or “I’m feeling okay,” but beware. Insurance adjusters will use statements like that to argue that your injuries aren’t all that serious, or that you’re faking injury altogether. Stick to the facts and only the facts when describing your condition to an insurance company.
If these warnings make giving a statement to an insurance adjuster sound like a dangerous proposition, then you’re catching on. Almost 61,000 crashes took place in 2016 in Fulton County, where Atlanta is primarily located. You were in only one of them. Adjusters, then, have a lot of practice manipulating accident victims into subverting their own cases.
At Hasner Law, we often advise our clients to let an attorney handle communications with the insurer. At the very least, we routinely encourage our clients to speak with us first, so that we can give them pointers on specific issues and insurance company tactics to watch out for.
Seek Legal Help for Your Car Accident
If you were injured in a car accident, don’t wait until after you’ve talked with the other party’s insurance company to consult a lawyer. Instead, contact Hasner Law today at 678-888-4878 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about when and how to communicate with insurance companies.