If you’ve never been in a car accident, you may be surprised at how quickly the insurance companies spring into action. It’s important to understand, however, that the insurance companies involved have different roles to play and different motivations. Your insurance company is working on your behalf because you pay your premiums and they are under contract. The other driver’s insurance company, on the other hand, represents the interests of the other driver. Even if the other driver has admitted that the accident was his fault, the insurance company then wants to make sure that it pays no more than it absolutely has to in paying your claim.
As a result, the other insurance company is going to want to settle the claim as quickly as possible. That may sound very appealing, but understand that a settlement is going to require you to waive any other claims, whether you are aware of them or not. For example, if you later discover that you have nerve damage as a result of the accident, you won’t be able to bring a claim against them if you’ve already entered a settlement agreement. For these reasons and others we’ll get into below, it’s very important to understand how to talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
First Things First……..
You are not legally obligated to talk to the other driver’s insurance company. However, talking with them may help get your claim resolved more quickly. The driver may not be cooperating with his insurance company (perhaps refusing to speak with them at all) or might be giving them an inaccurate version of the facts. By speaking with his insurance company, you might be helping the claims process proceed. You just need to be very careful in what you say.
Just the Facts, No Opinions
If you do speak with the other driver’s insurance company, stick to the very basic facts of the accident such as where and when the accident occurred. If you start the sentence with “I think” then don’t finish that thought even if you’re “pretty sure.” It’s ok if you don’t know all the details, and it’s better to say you don’t know rather than speculate. Keep your answers brief and to the point and resist the temptation to expand on the basic facts.
Do Not Discuss Your Injuries or the Cause of the Accident
You especially don’t want to give any opinion as to your general health or whether you have suffered an injury. Some injuries may take a while to manifest themselves. Just tell them that you are under the care of your physician and that your health is your first priority.
As for the cause of the accident, again, just relay the facts. Do not get into what you think caused the accident or who you think may be at fault. The other driver’s insurance company will use what you say to establish that their driver was not at fault or that your own negligence contributed to the accident.
Get in Touch with an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have been helping victims of car accidents since 1992. We can help you deal with all of the parties involved and get you the compensation you deserve. If you’d like a free consultation, call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email today.