WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY CONTACTS ME AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
There are usually two insurance companies involved in an auto accident case; yours and the opposing party’s, and since you were injured and they are the bad guys, their insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible. The other insurance company is the client’s; the one for the person who has been injured, your client’s insurance company. People often forget about their own insurance company when they are in an accident that is and it is someone else’s fault because they know the other person’s insurance company has to pay them, but let’s start with their own.
Your own insurance company
The injured client has an absolute duty to notify their own insurance company as soon as possible when they are in an accident; that’s part of every insurance contract. One reason to do that anyway is because, what if the person who injured you doesn’t have insurance or it lapsed and they don’t even know? You want to notify your own insurance company about the accident to protect your interests or to be able to pursue an uninsured motorist claim should it become necessary, but if you don’t notify them in a timely manner; they may refuse to fulfill your uninsured motorist coverage.
With your own insurance company, you want to be open and forthright with them about what occurred in the accident and be factually correct. However the other person’s insurance company (we’ll call it the bad guy’s insurance company) is not your friend; they are, in essence, your enemy; their job is to protect the best interests of their insured, as well as the shareholders or owners, officers and directors of their company, which means they want to save them money and pay out as little as possible to you, the victim, in an insurance claim.
The other person’s insurance company
Assuming you are going to obtain the services of an attorney shortly after an accident, even though it could take several days or weeks to find the attorney you want, you should not speak to the other person’s insurance company. You should never give a recorded statement to the other person’s insurance company. Why?
Consider that most of the survey will be pleasant and proper and nice and casual and friendly; the insurance company will try to seem like a friend when they meet and greet us, asking you how you’re doing, but what do we always say? We say we’re doing fine. Unfortunately, that’s being recorded, and months later, when you and your attorney are trying to settle your accident case, the adjuster will remind us that you told an adjuster you were fine right after the accident and that they have it on tape; then they’ll ask why you’re claiming you’re badly hurt now, and claiming thousands of dollars in medical bills for previous year, when you said you were fine a day or two after?
That is why you don’t want to speak to the other person’s insurance company; let your attorney to do that. You only want to speak to the other person’s insurance company with regard to the damage to your motor vehicle, and only to tell them where your car is so they can send their property damage adjuster to look at it and figure out whether it’s totaled and give you the fair market value for it or, if it’s damaged, what repairs should be done and where. Those things are okay to talk to the bad guy’s insurance company about only in a very factual way; don’t be led into conversations about how you feel or what happened in the accident with the other person’s insurance company.
That’s why God made personal injury lawyers; you contact them to speak to the bad guy’s insurance company, not you. However, you certainly can and must cooperate with your own insurance company; in most cases, you do not need your attorney to do that.