The insurance company wants to talk to you after your accident. At first, you may be encouraged that the insurance company is acting so quickly. You are understandably eager to make a fair settlement and to put the accident behind you.
Unfortunately, you may jeopardize your fair recovery if you talk to the insurance company after an accident. The insurance company may want to settle your claim quickly, but it doesn't want to settle your claim fairly. Instead, the insurer wants to get you to settle your claim for as little money as possible so that it can maximize its own profits.
Don't Fall Into the Insurance Company's Trap
You can protect your rights by watching what you say to insurance companies. Specifically, our experienced accident lawyers have found that it is best practice for you NOT to say:
- The accident was my fault. The insurer may deny your claim and refuse to pay damages if you admit fault to the insurance company. Therefore, we encourage you not to say you are sorry about the accident or that the accident was your fault.
- I don't think I'm hurt. Some injuries are not readily apparent at the accident scene. However, you may be hurt and not know it yet. If you claim an injury later, the insurer may argue that it must have happened for another reason because you said you weren't hurt right after the crash. Accordingly, it is better not to comment at all about your potential injuries.
- I'll give you a statement right now. Personal injury accidents are traumatic. We encourage you not to give a statement right away and instead to talk to an attorney before you talk to an insurer.
- You can look at all of my medical records. Your entire medical record may not be relevant to your accident claim. The insurer may be looking for another reason for your injuries, even if another reason doesn't exist. An attorney can help you figure out which medical records the insurer needs to settle your claim and which medical records are irrelevant to your claim.
- I will settle for X amount of money. You may have come up with an amount of money that you think represents a fair settlement. However, you should not share this amount with the insurance company. Your assessment of your damages may not include everything you should recover after an accident. Once you share your damage demand with the insurance company, you are unlikely to recover anything more than that amount, even if you are legally entitled to additional compensation.
- That sounds fair. I accept your settlement offer. Once you accept the settlement offer, your settlement may be considered final and you won't recover any additional compensation later. Accordingly, you should not accept a settlement offer without first speaking to an accident lawyer.
- I need this to settle quickly. The insurance company will take this to mean that you are desperate to settle and that settling your claim quickly is more important to you than settling it fairly. Therefore, the insurer may offer you less than your case is worth in an attempt to get you to settle your claim quickly.
- Any statement that starts with, "I think." Any statement that includes the words "I think" is speculation and should not be shared with the insurance company. For example, you should speculate or share what you think about the cause of the crash, your injuries, your damages, or anything else related to your accident.
Any of these things could be used against you and could result in a lower recovery than you deserve.
Here's What to Say Instead
The list of what not to say to the insurance company after an accident is long, but the list of what you should say is short.
Instead of remembering what you shouldn't say, we encourage you only to say that an attorney represents you and that all communication should be handled through your accident lawyer.
After that, you may provide the insurance company with your lawyer's phone number, email address, and mailing address, but you should not engage in further conversation with the insurance adjuster.
You can begin protecting your rights today by contacting the experienced personal injury lawyers of Hupy and Abraham. For more than 50 years, our lawyers have been helping accident victims in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois make fair recoveries. Insurance companies know that we mean business and are often more willing to settle our clients' claims fairly because they know that our attorneys won't hesitate to go to trial if they don't.
Call us, start a live chat with us, or complete our contact form any time to learn more about your rights. We would be happy to schedule a free consultation with you in any of our 11 Midwest law offices, your home or hospital room, or by phone or video conference.