An automobile accident can be a very frustrating and stressful time in your life. Dealing with potential injuries, car repairs, and your insurance company can be overwhelming, especially if you have never been in an accident before. Fortunately, there are a few points to remember when dealing with your insurance company.
What NOT to Say
A number of people are under the impression that your insurance company should be one of the first calls you make following an accident. This is not the case. The emotions surrounding an accident could seriously influence how you remember the details and also what you say. In order to maximize the amount of money you receive from your insurance company following a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, make sure to also avoid saying any of the following:
- “The accident was my fault…I’m sorry.” – Never apologize or take the blame for the accident, even if you really were at fault. In some cases, the other driver may also be equally at fault and if you confess, the other driver may get away without any of the blame. This can seriously impact your chance at recovering financial compensation.
- “I’m not hurt.” – You are not a doctor so don’t diagnose yourself at the accident scene. In many cases, injuries can take a while to arise and may develop hours or days after the accident.
- An official statement – You are not required to provide the insurance company with an official statement, even if they ask for one.
- “I accept your offer.” – Never accept an offer from your or the other driver’s insurance company without the advice of a car accident lawyer.
- “I do not have an attorney.” – If you do not hire an attorney, your insurance company may not take your claim that seriously. Attorneys are experienced in handling these types of cases and know the tricks many insurance companies will use to minimize the amount of money they have to pay.
What TO Say
Along with knowing what not to say, make sure you also know what information to tell your insurance company. Following an accident, you should tell your lawyer the following:
- Basic facts of the accident – This includes the date, time, and location of the accident. It can also include small details such as the weather and even traffic conditions.
- A play by play of the accident – Be as detailed as you can to help recreate the accident.
- Photo evidence – Attach any photos you took at the accident scene.
- Other driver information – Give your insurance company the other driver’s full name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance policy number.
Police report information – Although you may not have the actual police report after an accident, give your insurance company the police report number and contact information of the police officer who filed the report.