We know that the last thing you want to think about after an accident is what to say or what to do. However, it’s critical to know (in the very least), what NOT to do.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to speak to an insurance adjuster before consulting with an attorney about your case. If you think that giving your statement will help wrap everything up sooner or maybe get a fair settlement faster, then you are mistaken.
Insurance companies will actively work to deny your claim for even the smallest or insignificant reasons, all in an effort to reduce their costs.
Keep on reading to learn all about why you should never give statements to any insurance adjuster, including one from your own insurance company, and what you should specifically avoid saying to any party involved in the crash.
Not Talking to an Insurance Adjuster: What Are the Risks?
Before getting into things that you should avoid saying, we will quickly cover some falsehoods about possible repercussions if you decline to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.
Generally speaking, adjusters for both your and the other driver’s insurance company will most likely ask you to make a recorded statement about your accident. When you practice your right to decline, some will suggest that the insurance company might use that as an excuse to deny paying your claim. This simply isn’t true.
Most insurance companies are not going to deny a claim just because you express the desire to speak with a personal injury lawyer or car accident attorney before you give a recorded statement. Do not let them intimidate or bully you. Always keep in mind that insurance adjusters will be using the recorded statements to establish who was at fault in your accident, and this can significantly affect the way your case proceeds.
Things You Should Never Say to an Insurance Claims Adjuster
Now let’s explore some examples of things NOT to say to an insurance adjuster, especially before you have the chance to speak with an attorney. We’ll look at the consequences of giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster and highlight how they might use those words against you.
Don’t Say “It Was My Fault”
This is crucially important. You should never admit fault outright, even if you believe that you played a role in the accident. There might have been other circumstances to the accident that you were not aware of. For instance, you might have been texting and driving, so you might believe the accident was your fault. However, what if you were to discover that the other driver was speeding, which also contributed to the crash.
We know that it might seem disingenuous on the surface, but you should protect your rights until both you and your attorney can get the full picture. That being said, you must never lie about what happened. Instead, the best course of action is to say as little as possible until you’ve had the chance to speak with an attorney.
Don’t Say “I’m Fine”
If you’re giving a recorded statement and you’ve been asked how you’re feeling, your immediate reaction might be to say, “I’m fine.” However, this is something you should definitely avoid saying. Regardless of your intent, the statement “I’m fine” might be interpreted as you being injury-free and were not hurt in the wreck.
Remember that insurance companies will take anything you say literally, and can point towards your recorded statement as evidence. Therefore, when you’re speaking to an insurance adjuster, avoid saying anything definitive about your injuries (or lack thereof).
And by the way, this rule still applies even if you’ve seen a doctor, and they’ve told you that you have no major injuries, or that you are generally doing okay.
Don’t Say “I Don’t Know for Sure, but I Assume…”
Unless you’ve seen something with your own eyes, or you’re absolutely positive about something that happened (preferably with evidence to support your conentions), you should never make assumptions.
Don’t make assumptions about your car’s speed, distance, or other details about the accident. And don’t make similar assumptions about the other party in the accident. It could be detrimental to say something that turns out to later be false.
If you end up making a statement under oath (a deposition) or with your attorney, and what you say differs from what you originally told the adjuster, this will significantly hurt your case. Attorneys usually just want one statement from you, and that’s after you’ve had the opportunity to consult with them.
Simply put, for the majority of the questions the adjuster will ask you, the safest thing you can do is avoid making assumptions. If you don’t know something, your best answer is always to tell them you “don’t know.”
Don’t Say “Well, This Offer Is Lower Than Expected, but I’ll Accept”
In many cases, you’ve heard about insurance companies reaching out to victims immediately after an accident to offer them a low settlement. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.
This is a great strategy for insurance companies, as they are holding out hope that the victims accept the settlement without a fight. In fact, many are tempted by the speed of getting a payout without really understanding the full value of their case.
Remember that the moment you accept an early offer, you forfeit the right to sue the responsible party as well as their insurance companies. Once you settle, there will never be another opportunity to get more money.
Anyone has discussed their case with a lawyer will know that the first offer is only a starting point for negotiations, and is rarely the final amount you could receive.
Getting the Legal Representation You Need
You don’t have to face both the consequences of a car accident and the strength of the associated insurance companies alone. To reiterate, you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.
If you have been a wreck and would like to discuss your case with a lawyer, contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll be pleased to review your case and recommend the best legal options for you as it relates to obtaining the settlement you deserve.