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Should You Talk to the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Adjuster?
You’ve just been in a car accident caused by another driver. You’ve been hurt. Shortly afterward, you get a call from the other driver’s insurance company. What should you do? In your mind, liability is absolutely clear. So, should you talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster? After all, maybe it will speed up the claims process.
You’re under no obligation to talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
Repeat. You are not legally required to speak with the other driver’s claims adjuster. No matter how concerned the insurance company’s representative appears to be, he or she has a job to do. In short, the goal is to limit the amount of exposure needed to make you whole.
Soon after your accident, the insurance companies for both you and the other driver will investigate liability for the crash. While you must cooperate with your own insurance company, you don’t have to talk to the other driver’s insurer since you do not have a policy with them. And it is in your own best interest if you simply avoid doing so because you have nothing to gain.
Then why is the other driver’s car insurance company calling you?
Again, the other driver’s adjuster wants to resolve any accident claims with minimal cost to his/her employer. To do so, the adjuster will try to pin some of the accident liability on you. Even a small portion of blame on you will lessen any settlement or jury award.
Insurance Adjuster Will Want Your Statement
The other driver’s insurer may try to get you to provide a statement about the accident and your injuries in the hopes of getting you to make damaging remarks that can be used against you later on to reduce the claim.
For example, they will contact you shortly after your accident before you understand the full nature of your injuries. The claims adjuster may lure you in by asking you to provide a statement about the accident and your injuries. You may tell them that you feel fine, but they will use that against you to argue that you were healthy at the time of the call.
If you say anything, make it clear you were injured and never admit fault. Don’t discuss details of the injury or consent to a recorded statement. Do not sign anything. If the adjuster wants information about the accident, direct them toward the police report. Remain calm and don’t get intimidated.
Just answer the basic questions as to where and when the accident occurred. Don’t volunteer any additional information.
Get Your Lawyer Involved
That being said, it is always best to retain a personal injury attorney to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. This holds especially true if the injury is severe and/or the question of who caused the accident is in dispute.
A personal injury lawyer will be familiar with typical tactics used by insurance adjusters that may be used to coax you into saying the wrong thing. It is to your advantage to seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney in dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. Then, the insurance adjuster will be legally required to correspond with your lawyer directly instead of contacting you.
Truth be told, this is good advice for any type of accident claim. If you slipped and fell and are considering a lawsuit, you should also speak to an attorney before agreeing to talk with the insurance company. The same is true if you suffered a workplace injury and are seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo, we have decades of experience representing injury victims. If you were hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, please call us to set up a free consultation.