A car accident can be traumatic, overwhelming, and stressful, particularly when the collision causes significant property damage and catastrophic injuries. It is not uncommon for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to contact the injured party directly. They may ask about the victim’s injuries, the damage to their vehicle, and other details about the accident. However, it is important for the victim to understand that the other motorist’s insurance agent does not have their best interests at heart.
The insurance company does not want to pay a large settlement amount, and they will resort to a range of tactics to avoid doing so. That is why it is crucial that car accident victims only discuss the details of their case with a dedicated lawyer who will protect their legal rights, address all of their questions and concerns, and negotiate the best possible settlement offer.
What Should I Do if the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Contacts Me?
After a car accident, there are a number of steps that one should do. For example, if a motorist is injured in a car accident, they should call 911, collect as much evidence from the scene as possible, and seek immediate medical attention. In addition, they should contact their own insurance company in order to file a claim.
If the injured party is contacted by the other motorist’s insurance company, they are not legally required to speak to that person. In fact, they should avoid speaking to the other party’s insurance company, particularly if they plan to file a personal injury claim. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so they will use a range of tactics to try to avoid paying costly settlements, including trying to get the injured party to say things that can be used against them. If a motorist is contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, they should notify their lawyer who can speak on their behalf.
Why Should I Avoid Speaking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
There are a number of circumstances where the injured motorist should avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance agent, including:
- They suffered severe injuries in the accident that required hospitalization or long-term health complications.
- The costs associated with treating the injuries totaled more than $2,000.
- The injuries caused the victim to miss more than a couple of days of work or school.
- There is a dispute over which driver caused the accident.
- Multiple people were injured in the accident.
- The motorist is being pressured by the insurance company.
- The motorist is confused or unsure about how the accident happened.
One exception to this rule is if the other driver was clearly at fault, but they refuse to speak with their own insurance company. If that is the case, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will have no information about the accident, who was responsible for causing the collision, the extent of the property damage, and if there were serious injuries involved.
If the injured motorist does not speak to the other driver’s insurance company about the details of the accident, it could take months before they receive a settlement check. In some cases, the insurance company may not issue a check at all if they have no information about the accident.
What Should I Keep in Mind if I Have to Speak to the Insurance Company?
The following includes important tips to keep in mind when speaking to the other driver’s insurance company:
- The insurance company wants to pay out as little money as possible. This is important for motorists to consider any time they are speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. They will likely try to look for any evidence that their customer was not at fault, that the injured motorist was at fault, or that the injuries were minor. Motorists should never share details about their injuries with the other motorist’s insurance company or downplay the seriousness of the injuries. It is also important that the injured victim seeks medical attention, even if the injury does not seem serious. Failing to do so can result in a potentially serious injury, like a traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding, to go undiagnosed. In addition, the other driver’s insurance company will use this information to argue that the motorist’s injuries must not have been very serious if they did not think they needed medical attention.
- Motorists should always think twice before sharing information. Even a seemingly innocent statement about some detail from the accident can be twisted by the other motorist’s insurance company and used as a basis for refusing to pay.
- Do not volunteer information. Motorists should only answer questions that are asked. They should not elaborate or provide any additional information when answering a question. In addition, they should never agree to have their statement recorded, either over the phone or in writing. This may prevent the motorist from modifying their statement if the extent of their injuries are more serious than they thought.
- Avoid talking about the injuries. Motorists should never provide information about their injuries to the other driver’s insurance company. Claims adjusters often try to talk to the injured party immediately following the accident before they have had a chance to process what happened. They do this in order to get a general idea of what the case may be worth, which is also known as a reserve value. That is the amount they will pursue, even though it is often much lower than the actual costs associated with the victim’s injuries.
- Do not agree to a settlement over the phone. Insurance companies often contact the injured parties shortly after the accident before they have a realistic idea of the total expenses. They may try to pressure the victim to accept an initial settlement offer, but this is often a low offer that does not come close to covering the total costs related to the accident.
- Do not speculate about details of the accident. If the motorist is unsure about certain aspects of the accident, they should simply tell the insurance company that they do not know how specific events transpired.
- Motorists can seek assistance from their own insurance company’s adjuster. They can provide additional information and negotiate a fair settlement offer. This will also prevent the motorist from accidentally saying something that will hurt their case and jeopardize the claim.
How can a Lawyer Help Me?
Hiring an experienced lawyer means that the injured victim has a skilled legal professional on their side who has a thorough understanding of the specific laws and procedures that could have an impact on the case. A dedicated lawyer will also be able to anticipate the tactics that the other driver’s insurance company will resort to, and they will prepare a strategic plan to secure the best possible settlement. The following are additional examples of how a lawyer can help a client:
- Collect, organize, and analyze all evidence and records, including medical records, police reports, and copies of medical bills.
- Communicate with the other motorist’s insurance adjuster.
- Negotiate with insurers to secure the best settlement offer.
- Work together with lienholders to ensure that the maximum amount of money goes to the injured party as opposed to the lienholder, including Workers’ Compensation, health, or disability benefits.
- Explain the difference between pursuing a car accident claim versus a lawsuit. While both seek to recover compensation for expenses associated with the accident, including property damage and injuries, a car accident claim happens when the injured party notifies the insurance company of a loss and seeks to collect financial compensation under the provisions of the insurance policy. A personal injury lawsuit is a type of formal legal action, where the injured motorist sues the at-fault driver in an effort to secure financial compensation. There are a number of steps involved in filing a personal injury lawsuit, and a lawyer can help with the entire process.
Encino Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at ACTS Law Assist Clients With Every Phase of the Claims Process
If you were seriously injured in a car accident, you are urged to contact the Encino catastrophic injury lawyers at ACTS Law. In order to ensure that your legal rights are protected, it is imperative that you have a dedicated legal team on your side. We will walk you through every step of the claims process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online. With offices located in Los Angeles and San Diego, we serve clients throughout Southern California.