What Should I Do in the Hours after an accident?
You were just in a car accident. A couple hours later, you may receive a call from the insurance agency representing the other party. The person on the phone might say they are an insurance adjuster and ask for your permission to record your statement about the accident.
Before you speak with a representative of the opposing insurance company, it is important for you to hire an attorney to protect your rights. An attorney can ease your stress and help you avoid some of these common mistakes people make when they receive one of these calls:
- Use phrases like “I’m fine.” If you respond this way when the insurance adjuster asks how you are feeling, this can be used to negate your injury claims.
- Disclose too much personal information. The only personal information you need to disclose is your full name, address, phone number, type of work, and place of employment. Further details about your work, schedule, and income are not required
- Provide too many details of the accident. Specific accident details are unnecessary to disclose. If an adjuster asks you to give a statement about how the accident happened, you only need to provide the facts — location, time, type of accident, vehicles involved, and identity of witnesses. Later, you can write a statement to describe the accident.
- Speculate about the accident. If you accidentally say the wrong thing, say too much, or indicate you are unsure what happened, you may provide the information needed to deny your claim.
- Describe the nature and extent of your injuries. You are not required to disclose the details of your injuries at this time. You may accidentally leave something out, discover an injury later, or learn that your injury is worse than you initially thought.
- Agree to give a recorded statement about the accident. You have no legal obligation to be recorded, and it is unlawful for you to be recorded without your permission. Under the pressure of a recording, you may misspeak or give incomplete information that will be nearly impossible to correct or expand on later. You can say you are uncomfortable being recorded and provide a written statement later.
- Accept a quick settlement. The adjuster may offer you a small amount of money on the first or second phone call to save the insurance company time, effort, and money. If you take this early settlement, you will likely receive less compensation than you deserve.
How an attorney can help
It is safest for you to consult with your attorney and develop a written statement about the accident. You can spend time creating a clear and precise written claim that can better represent the facts of the accident and strengthen your case.
Developing and arguing a strong case after an accident can be difficult and stressful. An attorney can work with you to identify the strengths of your claim, gather additional evidence, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you are in need of an attorney to achieve the claim results you deserve, contact Mulligan Attorneys at 910-763-1100.