The answer to this question is—yes, you should talk to your insurance company after a car accident—and—no, you shouldn’t talk to the other driver’s insurer. Even if it’s clear that the other party was deemed at-fault for the car accident, it’s best to engage your car accident attorney to speak with the other insurance company.
After a car accident, an agent from the at-fault driver’s insurer may call you. If you decide to speak with the agent, be very careful. Don’t provide any information to the other driver’s insurer.
You Aren’t Required to Speak with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer
The law doesn’t require you to converse with the other driver’s insurer or any of its agents:
- Don’t speak with the insurer if there’s a possibility that you, a passenger, or even the other driver will make a claim for a serious personal injury.
- Don’t speak with the other insurance company if you’ve retained a car accident attorney (or if your insurer’s adjuster can address the other insurer’s questions).
When Should You Speak with the Other Insurer?
Rarely, you might want to speak with the other insurer:
- If the at-fault driver lied to or refused to provide you with his or her insurer
- If the at-fault driver is unaware of your vehicle damage or accident car injuries
However, it’s still better for your car accident attorney to have these discussions with the other insurer. Unless you’re involved in a minor accident, don’t risk a possible miscommunication with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If You Must Speak with the Other Insurance Company
Remember that the other insurance company’s goals are in direct opposition to your own. The at-fault insurer wants to pay you as little as possible to settle the potential claim. It doesn’t have your best interests in mind:
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company is searching for evidence to blame you for the accident (or argue that you were partially at-fault for the accident)
- The other insurance company’s attorneys will argue that your injuries or damages are either non-existent or extremely minor
Even if you feel relatively fine after a car accident, recognize that some injuries might not appear right away. A minor injury might evolve into a more serious condition. That’s why it’s important to get immediate medical attention after a car accident. Get regular medical attention to document your case progression.
Anything You Tell the Other Insurance Company Can Affect the Value of Your Claim
Again, it’s best to avoid speaking to the other insurer at all. Ask your car accident attorney to communicate with the other insurance company.
What you say can—and will—be used by the other insurer to refuse your claim or reduce the payout.
Never Volunteer Information
If you’re surprised by a phone call from the other insurer, just say no. If for some reason you’re speaking with the other insurer, ask for the agent to record your statement.
Better yet, contact your lawyer and ask him or her about the next steps. Don’t allow the other insurance company to lock you into making a written or recorded statement regarding the events, property damages, or injuries.
Never attempt to speculate or guess about what caused the accident. It’s okay to speak with your own insurance company about anything but, if you don’t know the answer to a question, say you don’t know.
Engage Your Car Accident Lawyer
Let’s imagine you need to provide information requested by the other insurance company. Even if it’s objective information, such as 1) when the accident happened, 2) where the accident happened, 3) witness names, or 4) police officer/police report information.
It’s okay to ask your insurance adjuster to contact the other insurance company to provide this information.
If the other insurer needs information beyond the basics, get assistance from your car accident lawyer. She can prevent you from unknowingly providing the wrong information—or more information than you should provide.
Contact an Experienced Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer
Generally speaking, don’t discuss anything with the other insurance company. Don’t discuss who’s at fault, damages, or the seriousness of your injuries. Don’t speak with the at-fault driver’s insurer without your own legal representative.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.