After a car accident, it is understandable to feel confused and overwhelmed in the aftermath, but once you recover your composure, there is a lot that you need to do. You will need to get a medical evaluation to take care of any possible injuries and you will need to contact your insurance company since that is a necessity after an auto accident. However, you need to be careful about what you say to them because saying the wrong thing could end up jeopardizing your claim.
You may think that the insurance company is there to help you recover financially after suffering a terrible loss, and that is true to some degree, but they are a business and profit is their main concern. That means they will always try to find a way to give the lowest payout possible. In order to avoid that, you need to be careful about what you say to them, and you should get a car accident lawyer to help and advise you. A lawyer can help you put together an injury claim and give you advice on how to maximize your compensation. You can read more here if you need an attorney to help you.
While you should be careful about what you say to the insurance company after an accident, there are still some questions that you need to ask them.
Your coverage depends on your policy so you need to seek clarification from your insurance company about what is covered by your policy. There are also contingencies depending on who was responsible for the crash and whether they were insured or not. In some states it is required that drivers have liability insurance, uninsured driver coverage, or underinsured driver coverage. They are for situations where the other driver involved in the accident does not have any insurance or does not have enough insurance.
You might also have supplemental coverage like collision coverage or comprehensive coverage. There is also the fact that if you were at fault for the accident and the damages are higher than the policy coverage, then you will have to pay the difference out of pocket. As you can see, there are a lot of different scenarios that could happen after a car accident, which is why you need to find out what your insurance will cover as soon as you can.
There are some scenarios where your insurance premiums could increase after an accident and others where they stay the same. If the accident was not your fault, then your rate should be unaffected. But if you were at fault, then it could go up depending on the nature of the accident. There are various factors that can affect your insurance rate, and one of them is the amount of damage caused by the crash. So if you were at fault for the accident, you need to find out if that will affect your insurance rate.
There are certainly questions that you need to ask your insurance company after a car accident, but conversely, there are some things that you should avoid saying at all costs. The reason is that they could affect the amount of compensation that they pay out to you.
After the accident you are likely to be confused, overwhelmed, and in shock, not to mention that you may not yet know all the details about the accident. This makes it a bad time to contact your insurance company because you may end up inadvertently saying the wrong thing. Even if you correct yourself after you have calmed down and regained your composure, the insurance company may refuse to accept what you have to say. It is better if you get medical attention first and then only contact them after you have regained your faculties and have a better grasp of the situation.
This not only goes for the insurance company, but also for anyone involved in the accident as well including the other driver or the police. The reason is that any such statements could be used against you to reduce or deny your compensation. Even if you initially believed that you were at fault, there could be other factors that you did not know about at the time that could have contributed to the accident. If you are asked to describe the accident, then you should just relay the events that happened without admitting fault or blaming the other driver. That includes making any apologetic statements as well because even a reflexive apology could be interpreted as admitting fault.
Even if you do not feel that you are hurt that might not necessarily be the case because some injuries like whiplash may take some time before they manifest. Not to mention that the adrenaline and excitement of the crash might be temporarily masking any painful injuries. That is why you should avoid saying that you are not hurt and instead say that you are going to get medically evaluated.
If you say that you are uninjured and then later realize that you actually had a crash-related injury that took some time to manifest, then your insurance company might try to claim that the injury was caused by something else. That could end up reducing the compensation you need to take care of any medical bills.
You should avoid making an official statement to the insurance company without first consulting your attorney, in fact, you can ask your attorney to make the statement for you. You may be led to believe that you need to urgently provide an official statement if you want your injury claim to go through, but that is not the case. You can and should take the time to come up with a statement that cannot be misconstrued by the insurance company to deny or reduce your compensation.
The insurance company will want as many details about the accident as possible so they will ask you specific questions about it. If you do not know the details, then you should admit as such instead of trying to guess or estimate the answer. An incorrect answer, even if it was just a guess, could hurt you down the line.
Since insurance companies are a business and businesses are all about making a profit, it is not in the company’s best interest to offer high initial payouts. They will almost always offer the lowest possible amount at first and that amount may not be enough to cover all of your accident related expenses. That is why you, or preferably your attorney, should be ready and willing to negotiate with the insurance company until they offer you a fair settlement.
Ultimately, the best thing to do before speaking to your insurance company is to speak to a lawyer first. There are many pitfalls that you need to avoid if you want the best chance of getting the compensation that you need from your insurance company and an attorney can help you in that regard. Not only will they help you but the insurance company will be more apt to give your injury claim more attention and respect if they know that you have a lawyer with you. So do not take any chances and try to deal with the insurance company by yourself after a car accident, retain the services of an experienced car accident attorney to help you.