What you should say to an insurance company after an accident often depends on whose insurance company adjuster contacts you: your company or the other driver’s. When contacting your insurer, you should provide a complete and accurate account of the accident and resulting injuries.
If the liable party’s insurance company tries to speak with you or offer a settlement, it might be worthwhile to contact a lawyer before making any statements. An adjuster can use anything you say against you if you must sue for compensation.
What to Say to Your Insurer
As the Ohio Department of Insurance explains on Page 3 of its Guide to Automobile Insurance, it is the policyholder’s responsibility to file a claim after an accident. That said, it is important to realize that your policy will only pay out if the accident was your fault. Otherwise, you must seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Depending on what types of insurance the liable party has and how much their limits are, you could recover compensation for your:
- Medical expenses: This category includes any money you have already spent on medical care as well as future bills you might incur because of your injuries.
- Repair bills: If your car sustained damage, insurance could help you afford the repairs necessary to make it usable again.
- Costs associated with car replacement: If your car suffered irreparable damage, insurance might help you pay for a new one.
When filing a claim with your insurer, it is essential to be honest about how the accident happened and all the injuries you suffered. Your report should be as complete and precise as possible. If you need assistance, you can contact the insurer or your lawyer. A car accident attorney can also help if you are unsure how to file a claim or the insurance company denies or delays your claim.
What to Say to Another Party’s Insurer
If another party is at fault for your accident, their insurance company will likely try to speak with you. Even if you are in the hospital, they might approach you asking for a statement or insisting that you accept a settlement offer.
No matter how hard they insist, it is better not to speak with them. You might find it beneficial to consult a lawyer at this time. Otherwise, the adjuster might:
- Get you to say something you did not mean so that it appears that their client is not responsible for the accident.
- Exploit any omission or discrepancy in your testimony by claiming it is proof of your guilt or their client’s innocence.
- Push you to accept a lowball settlement and sacrifice your right to further compensation.
- Get you to “admit” you contributed to the accident, which would reduce the amount they must pay per Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33.
A lawyer can protect you from these predatory tactics by speaking to the insurance company on your behalf. Their presence prevents the insurer from denying your rights or robbing you of fair compensation.
Your Lawyer Can Talk to the Insurers
Instead of talking to an insurance company yourself, you can have a car accident attorney do so for you. This way, the insurance adjuster has no chance to use your words against you or manipulate you into saying something harmful to your case.
When you put your case in a lawyer’s hands, they can:
- Provide regular updates: Your lawyer will inform you when something important happens (e.g., the insurer offers a settlement). They can also explain what each development means and help you make legal decisions.
- Notify the insurance company: Your lawsuit does not officially begin until you have notified all involved parties—a task that your attorney can handle.
- Quantify your injuries: A lawyer can crunch the numbers and determine how much you are entitled to request. Your suit may be more credible if you ask for a reasonable and recoverable amount.
- Argue for a fair settlement: Your attorney has negotiated with insurers before and knows what tactics they are likely to try. If the insurer agrees to pay, your lawyer can make sure the settlement meets your needs before you sign an agreement.
- Represent you in court: If going to trial is the only way to get you an appropriate amount of compensation, your lawyer can present your case to a judge and jury.
Let Us Confront the Insurer for You
After an accident, you should concentrate on your recovery, not what you should say to an insurance company. The Fitch Law Firm LLC team would be happy to speak with all involved parties on your behalf. Call our main office at (614) 545-3930 today for a free case review.