After a car accident, you could receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company. This may happen regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Even if the collision was not your fault, they might try to contact you. Either way, you need to be careful about what you say and what information you provide.
You are not legally required to talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
Let’s answer the question posed in the title of this article. No, you are not required to speak to the other driver’s insurance company.
Now the question becomes,
Should you speak to the other driver’s insurance company?
This question is less straightforward but generally speaking, and you shouldn’t talk to the other driver’s car insurance company if there is any potential for you or anyone else involved to make a claim. In this situation, you need to seek legal advice immediately. By talking to them yourself, you may end up ruining your case. They will try and use whatever you say against you and are trained to encourage you to say the wrong things.
The best thing to do is to get in touch with a good personal injury lawyer like those found here at The Law Firm, and we can offer free advice on what the best course of action for you to take. Our phone lines are always open twenty-four hours a day. Call us at (888) 490-5536.
When Is It a Good Idea?
In the rare instances where the other driver is clearly at fault but has refused to speak to their own insurance company, then you may need to talk with them. They may not be aware of what occurred during the accident or the extent of your injuries or damage to your vehicle. In this circumstance, if you don’t speak to the other driver’s car insurance company, you may lose out on a settlement.
Ideally, a representative from your own insurance company will speak to the other driver’s insurer. But this doesn’t always happen, especially if the accident was a minor one. So, communicating information about the accident may fall to you. However, you will need to be very careful about what information you give and what you say.
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When Not to Speak to the Other Drivers Insurance Company
- You have any severe injuries such as broken bones, something which resulted in an overnight stay in hospital or any long-term health complications.
- You have needed medical treatments worth more than $2,000.
- You needed to miss more than a day or two of work/ school or normal activities.
- There is a dispute over who is at fault.
- More than one person was injured.
- The insurance company is being forceful or persistent.
- You feel unsure or confused about what occurred.
In these situations, you need a lawyer who will be able to advise you.
You Are Required to Speak with Your Own Insurance Company
As noted earlier, you are legally required to inform your own insurance company following a road accident. You are expected to speak with them quite quickly; most insurers require you to tell them within 24 hours if you are able to. However, we recommend that you speak to a lawyer first who may be able to speak to them on your behalf or prepare you on what to say.
Your policy may also require you to give a recorded statement. If they ask for this, you can request to see where in the contract it said that you are required to do this.
Although you are required to inform your own insurance company, you must remain vigilant about what information you give. They could take a position against you.
If any of the above conditions apply, then you should speak to a car accident attorney before you speak with your insurance company. That is why we make our personal injury lawyers available 24 hours a day so that you can seek advice when you need it.
Your Own Insurance Company May Not be on Your Side Either
Florida Florida Statute 627.7407 decrees that the state is a No-Fault state. That means that whether or not you were at fault, most of your lost wages, medical bills, and car damages are covered by your own Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) firm. That means that you also need to be careful with your own insurance company. Although it may not matter to them whether or not you were at fault, they could be aiming to minimize your insurance claim.
Be honest and straight forward but avoid giving any unnecessary details. If it was a severe crash and a police report was made, then you can ask your insurance company to refer to the police report for details.
The following advice for talking with the other driver’s insurance firm could also apply when speaking with your own car insurance.
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Advice for Talking With the Other Driver’s Car Insurance Firm
The first thing you need to be aware of it that the primary goal of the other driver’s insurance company is to pay out as little as possible. The company will not put your interests first. It wants to find evidence that you were at fault or that your injuries and damages are minor. So you shouldn’t say that you feel fine or that your vehicle is ok.
Even if you believe that what you are saying is true, sometimes injuries or problems with your car won’t show up straight away, and sometimes injuries can be more serious then you thought.
You should try to avoid saying anything that they can use to refuse to pay you or reduce the amount you are claiming for.
Additionally, only answer the question asked and do not volunteer information. What you feel or know can change in the days after the accident. Initially, your body will be full of adrenaline and other stress hormones, which may cloud your judgment or mask pain.
Do not agree to have your statement recorded, whether by writing or over the phone. The purpose of this is to lock you into a version of events that will ultimately devalue your claim.
Furthermore, do not speculate or guess any information. If you don’t know, then it’s ok to say that.
What Should You Say to The Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
Now that we have covered what you shouldn’t say, here is what you can say.
- Before you agree to answer any questions, ask for the name of the insurance company and the name and title of the person you are speaking to. Write this information down.
- If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, then you don’t have to. Ask them to call your own insurance company or let them know that you will speak to them when you have representation from a personal injury lawyer.
- You can tell them your name, phone number, and address if necessary.
- Do not volunteer any details about the accident or your injuries.
- Let them know not to contact you; you will contact them if you need to.
What Is a Claims Adjuster?
A claim or insurance adjuster investigates cases to determine the extent of the insurance companies’ liability. They review cases by speaking to the claimant as well as any witnesses and will also look at your medical record and the police report.
They are trained to lessen the number of cases brought against the insurance company they work for. That means that if you are speaking to the other person’s car insurance company, you are likely going to be talking to a claims adjuster. Their goal will probably be to acquire a recorded statement from you.
Why You Should Never Let Someone Record You
If you do talk to an insurance adjuster, they will likely ask you to create a recorded statement. They will probably be very friendly and may ask it in a way that makes you think it is the right thing to do. For example,
“We can speed up the claim if you provide a recorded statement’.
But a recorded statement can seriously damage your case as anything you say can be used against you to make your claim invalid. Without a claim, you will have to pay towards your own damages and injuries, even if you were not at fault for the accident.
Here are some ways a recorded statement can be used to undermine your accident claim.
- The other driver’s claims adjuster may analyze the statement you gave them against a statement you gave in the police report. If they find any inconsistencies, it could be grounds for your case to be denied. This is unfair because most people will tell a story slightly differently when giving it repeatedly over several months.
- The adjuster could ask difficult questions that are impossible to answer without hurting your claim. There have even been reports of adjusters being aggressive or forcing you to respond in a way that diminishes your case. You could become frustrated or confused and end up saying something like, ‘I guess so.’ A simple statement such as this could destroy your case.
- Avoid getting into a ‘friendly chat,’ they may ask seemingly ok questions such as whether you were playing loud music or were distracted by something on the street. Avoid any questions like this.
- If your case goes to trial, use the recorded statement you gave to cross-examine you. Months could have gone by, and you may make a contradiction without realizing it. A good attorney will highlight this, and it could damage your case.
Avoid Talking About Your Injuries
After a car accident, you should not talk to the other driver’s car insurance company about your injuries. You may not know the extent of your injuries until some time has passed.
That’s why claims adjusters want to talk to you quickly; they want to get you talking before you have had a chance to process what happened.
They also want to get an idea of what your case could be worth, known as a ‘reserve value.’ Once they know that they will push for that amount, even if it is a lot lower than your outgoing costs.
Never Agree to a Settlement Over the Phone
One of the reasons a claims adjuster may want to talk to you is to get a quick settlement. Adjusters know that you may be unsettled in the initial days after an accident and will want to take advantage of that.
Never accept a settlement over the phone in the first days after an accident. You don’t know what your medical bills are going to cost, what repairs will need to be done to your car, or how much time you will lose from work. The claims adjuster wants you to agree on a settlement that is far less than you deserve. Resist any pressure they put on you and simply tell them that you have no interest in a settlement right now.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You
Hiring a lawyer following a road accident is the best way to protect yourself if you have any serious injuries or will be missing a lot of work. Claims adjusters work daily to limit the amount that insurance firms have to payout.
That is why you need a personal injury lawyer, with as much as experience in car accident cases as they do. A lawyer from The Law Place will prevent you from being taken advantage of and will work to get you the compensation that you deserve.
With a long history of dealing with personal injury as a result of road accidents in Florida. We can give you legal advice, guide you through the process, and make sure that you are not taken advantage of.
How to Decide If You Need a Car Accident Attorney
Do the power and size of large insurance companies; you are already at a significant disadvantage when it comes to claiming. They will have lawyers who are highly experienced in car accident cases, and their only goal is to minimize the amount that they have to pay. On top of that, you are dealing with your own injuries and stress following the accident.
We believe that it is a good idea to talk to an attorney after an accident. The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the better they will be able to assist you with your case. If your case does go to court, then it is a long and complicated process, going it alone can be tough. You will have to pay your lawyer a contingency fee, which you will only have to pay if you win. Usually, the amount you receive in compensation compared to if you didn’t have a lawyer more than makes up for this cost.
Large insurance companies didn’t get to be that way by awarding large sums of money to people. Fighting them with proper representation is the key to making them payout what you deserve.
Even if your injuries are minor, you should still consult with an experienced lawyer, even if you decide not to hire them. We offer a free consultation for a reason. We want you to be confident that you are supported and that you are making the right decision.
If it is clear that the other driver was at fault and the damages and injures are minor, then it is probably ok to talk to the other driver’s insurance company. However, you are not legally obliged to talk to them if you do, then don’t give them any reason to lower the extent of your injuries or question who was at fault.
If the damages or injuries are more serious, or there is a question as to who was at fault, then it is a good idea to get representation. You need a law firm that can offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. At The Law Place, we have over 70 years of collective experience, and we work as a team so that you can benefit from everyone on our team. Contact us today for a free consultation on (888) 490-5536.