If you’ve recently been in a car accident, the other driver’s car insurance company might try to get you to give a statement. Discover the risks of talking about the crash with the other person’s car insurance company, as well as a wiser strategy to pursue in this scenario, by following these tips.
Reasons not to talk
After a car accident, your insurance company will open an investigation to determine which driver is at fault. It will then assign an insurance adjuster to the case. If both drivers involved in the accident shared fault, the adjuster will try to assign a certain degree of fault to whichever person was more at fault, as HG.org confirms. The other driver’s insurance company will follow the same process.
The other insurance company might call you soon after the collision and ask you to provide a statement. This often happens right after the incident and before you’re aware of the extent of your injuries, as Neil Goodman, founder and co-owner of The Goodman Law Group, P.C., relates. The adjuster will usually ask for a recorded statement about the accident and your resulting injuries. They typically promise that this will help the insurance company complete the claims process more quickly; they might also offer to settle your claim.
However, it’s common for the other insurance company’s adjuster to use the recorded statement against you, as Enjuris.com articulates. In some cases, the adjuster might compare the statement with what you told the police; if there are any inconsistencies, the company could deny the claim. In other cases, if a trial is involved, the defense can cross examine you on the grounds of the statement. Any inconsistencies with the statement and what you say in court will undermine your case.
There is one situation where it might help you to talk to the other insurance company, though: if the car accident was a minor one and the other driver is 100 percent at fault. If the police report states the other driver’s total fault for the accident, or if the police cited them, then it’s safe to proceed with talking to the other party’s adjuster to escalate the claim’s resolution.
What to do instead
In the majority of cases, though, it’s in your best interest to remain silent after the police report. Communicate only with your insurance company’s claim adjuster and rely on them to interact with the other insurance company. Depending on the severity of the accident, you might also want to hire a personal injury attorney to assist you in settling the claim. Per the Enjuris team, if your scenario involves any of the following conditions, it’s worth hiring this type of attorney: medical treatments more than $2K, missing more than 1-2 days of work/school, several people were injured, broken bones, hospital stays and long-term health consequences.
As tempting as it might be to personally interact with the other insurance company, the adage “silence is golden” is worth following in this situation. By speaking with only the police and your own insurance carrier’s adjuster, you’ll help protect the legitimacy of your claim and increase the chance of a positive outcome for the settlement.